breast of duck, ruddy

Author: Ulrike Draesner
Translator: Iain Galbraith

hiddensee, south beach,

                      the beckoning bay

a walker down here, light?
rose hips, a house, a head
fluffy plant fluttered up

seaweed – curlicued sand. violet
ghost, or ghost of what:
smile, like light that is pitched

on a point, gnawed, a-giggle –
a child’s face? hollowy like
a cave shadowy for swallows

or mosquito bites, lumps too
skin-close, sandy, even: as light.
a thing that walks whirls reels


even so, so even the beach
in its work of friction, sandy, wanton
sea shining, and flat

us too, built in air. a
violet shadow, up there,
this porous fabric me calling


through it. if i say “you”. if
i say “i’d like …” “i …” a
child’s face. oh ghost! porous

shrub: my uttering of you. if.
me saying: you, even, wanton
and flat the sea. come on

you say,
come here.


breast of duck, ruddy,
            all down the street

screeching tram, the way it
took the curves the tightest
following through the mike
the conductress’s gibberish
expounding laughing how she’d
hellishly hip – as the
dog on the corner
urged the frizzy bitch to play
gauchely even whistling bumped
his hips against her over and again
minced along beside her all
paws square – and she just
yawned her tongue so

kids played their last
hide-and-seek of the day

the way the tram whizzed now
dead straight along down the street
the way the reflection
of its windows in the tarmac
beat its wings


From kugelblitz.  Luchterhand Literatur Verlag (Random House), Munich, 2005.