I keep your secrets very close
nothing has happened something’s taken place
there’d be the possibility of a mix-up at any time

Author: Katharina Schultens
Translator: Catherine Hales


I don’t understand his hand’s bone structures
any more. there must be a cavity in there
where the tube goes in – an opening to the inside
of his gestures. all calculation. honey
dripping in from the spoon, & light.

lips pursed – not so bad. I’d love
to reach out my hand to him – still.
searching for intubations into the
conversation: change of scene
he waves with his white hand

along the aisles to the freezer
snow-covered forest soft humming
from behind the glass I’m sure all the bees
that have vanished are buzzing in that cavity
the warm transformer box their hive


I keep your secrets very close

Let me tell: I’m a spun yarn & you can take
a syllable away at any time or hang one on me
such as guilt. then I’m suddenly an english shrubbery
on a plain in a dream in which I can rustle
& whisper. intensively when the light shines through

red in branches: small apertures – now anyone
can hang up their secrets – I don’t care
how big or how banal. in any case they have
various filing options here in this structure.
their secrets are mostly small & white.

take on colour slowly & fix themselves to me
& get infected – until at some point everything falls
away. dispersion. seed. around me a circle
of leaves & a herd of small beasts. standing
upright pointed & remasculined –

lances without knights attached – I spin
around – my dress rustles – I whisper oh
you know – perhaps I’m the inside
of the filing cabinet when it closes.


nothing has happened something’s taken place

the pictures fanned out slats fingers
fitting singly in the gaps it’s a separation
of caresses as though you were letting down
a blind highly-controlled & cold. spread
this last time – light metal almost edges
skin this potential the rotation I didn’t say

anything. I’ve only divided something
into sections that were already there
with a movement that happened all
by itself seductively appropriate
to fit the available space – the image
disperses & deflects my eyes:

I turn my head here comes the refrain
with your hand taking turning & changing
nothing at all. just changing lane. slats
screwed in something momentous happening
just by-the-by as usual leaving behind the joints
in the structure & my discipline – it alters things –


there’d be the possibility of a mix-up at any time

if we were to hold the conditionals up to the light:
there’d be veins in them fine cracks
an epidermis patterned into stars
would be positioned over the ankles:

the conditionals
are not just any old ones but sinewy
scarred in places on the inside especially where
they begin. they’re busy making syntheses
without approval.

the conditionals
– and here’s the problem – take on lots
in parallel. in their surfaces courses
no lines aiming for a point instead
– cuts without consequences.

but you couldn’t have foreseen
how tenderly they’d strangle you.
they really didn’t mean
it. they’re still so little.


Originals © Katharina Schultens
Translations © Catherine Hales