Bright Sea

By Daniela Danz

Translation Adam Siegel

this is the beginning a break
upon the sea drunk
with the desire to span it
Europe in the evening and Asia after
the passage through the night in
thought: all of it false that was
effortless with none of that tearing
at the feet and at the head until here
a remnant without a beginning and there
all of it was false bright what you
whispered into my ear
even the word Colchis
was false without ever having eaten
of the freshly slaughtered sheep
which we have here
on our only gold-rimmed
plates (did we ever eat
from anything other than tableware?)
bright along the unlit sea floor
you pasture your ideas
about the Caucasus: Colchis Colchis
you whispered into the curve
of the ram’s horn
Colchis you said you see
it draws him in — all of it false bright
nothing drew in the ram it was
just my thighs
pressing his flanks
if you were to come out of
the sea out of death once
more then you might say
instead of Colchis: Caucasus
Mingrelia Svaneti Poti
you might say nothing more
about the ram and its fleece: look
how it shines golden
in the evening sun no: look
how they will sheer it
how his glory will be the cord that tightens
look: you’ll say bright
alive once more you say: so
not enough because greedy
is what the fleece makes you and the rugged
coastline the peaceful sleep of Europe
with their ships come the Greeks
across the sea under which
your sister sleeps bright
against dark ground a girl
in sneakers and hooded sweatshirt
a pocket knife in whose blade
no one has any faith
over which they must travel
the Greeks and high above flying
on the ram my brother
his flight as swift as my sleep
behind us small and crooked
fear lies in our bed
as children and later
the white buckled clasp
of my fingers tight around his waist
until I let go fell and sank
and all that is false was not as swift
as my death and my brother’s
look of shock: bright at the base
where you are with your ideas of Colchis
your body disintegrating utterly and undisturbed
for Asia has never tugged at your head
while my ideas so fruitlessly
scattered upon the sea
with Europe at the foot and Asia
at the head this is the end bright
I live on and you stay dead

From  Pontus. Gedichte © Wallenstein Verlag, 2009