Radmila Lazic


I flew the coop.
I hopped away like a squirrel.
When summer came in its sandals,
I put on mine.

I stood on heels as thin as needles
That pierce the heart.
There had been enough deadly wounds.
Enough wars between countries.
I swallowed all kinds of tiny pills.
Black warts grew everywhere on me.

I no longer want to be a rose in someone's lapel,
Someone's life jacket,
A hole in someone's shoe,
Nor the shoe that pinches.

I sharpen a pencil to a point.
I don't need anyone to sit next to me
Waiting for me to throw him a glance
Like a gnawed bone to a hungry dog.
I don't want anyone to snore next to me
Like a choir of saws in a forest
While I drill the ceiling with my eyes all night long.

Like a crust of bread to an infant
I need my hours for myself
To rub the gums where teeth will grow
With which to bite what once bit me.

I won't share my solitude with anyone.
I came to know the bliss of departure.

—from A Wake for the Living, trans. Charles Simic


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