If I Had a Garden
When the winter comes, …
Language Gives Up the Ghost

Author: Orsolya Kalasz
Translator: Donna Stonecipher

If I had a garden
I would mourn differently
would separate mourning from remorse.
It’s bad enough that I can’t get
the word “mourning-grass”
out of my head.
It’s much harder this way.
I have no choice
but to find a garden, and there
bury my fingers in the earth
and wait until the mourning-grass
sprouts into the deep.
I want to mourn in my garden
and when from the deep
I am allowed to pull my fingers out
my nails will be edged in black by
what was inevitable.
The words also allow me to do this,
the words that allow my mourning everything.
Also to want to be done with it.
As if one could predict how the days
put down roots in forgetting.

When the winter comes

When the winter comes, who will still believe
in its cold?

Then through my aunt’s yard I’ll carry
a bowl holding the steaming
pig’s heart over to the pot.
The snow before my steps
lost its whiteness long ago.

There, where the village ends, who does the winter stillness
meet with a precise thrust
and at the little red beech tree
in the rhythm of whose heart
does the peace then fill,
streaming, its vessel?


Language Gives Up the Ghost

Would you like to come over
into my language?
I ask you
you ask me
you sleepless one.
just ask me, yes you me, me you then, again.
Does the gate exist in your language
that opens to the sound of my heart knocking?
Just listen to me, yes you me, me you then, again.
What can the tears do in your language?
What can tears do in your language
when I cart home
from the willow
the weeping willow
the falling leaves
and lay them on your face
do you let them fall, do tears fall in your language?
I ask you, you ask me, yes you me, me you then, again.
Do they want to go back
the guessed words
back to the twilight institution?
What do you give up in your language?
You, the key.
I, I in my language the ghost.
A few skeletons are still lying in the clause.
I’m guilty! You’re guilty!
Who’s guilty!
The goddamned moths are guilty!
You ask me, I ask you, yes you me, I you then, again.
What does the hand expect in your language?
I had her palms, one on each arm
so that something could be begun
be touched, be embraced.
To you she shows only her signs
her sign language.
Can a hand, like a mouth,
sing, or scream
through sign language?
So sing then, sing, scream, swallow yourself,
sob, groan
spit out the bits of sorrow
on a sheet of white paper:
An image. A girl and a wild goose. The goose has one leg lifted.
The girl leans her head on its long, slim neck.
Would you like to come over
I hear you, me, you hear me
so hear
the words we guessed, the guest words
have pushed open the heart’s gate
the leaves, the tears
fall, fall, fall

Let’s exchange
give me the key
you take the ghost.