from Kastelimme heitä runsaasti kahvilla (ntamo 2009)
by Timo Harju
I want to write ofyouforyou, a portrait.
Can I write about you if I don’t dare read this to you?
I’ll try. Now it’s May 25, Ascension Day. I haven’t been
to the nursing home for six months. I don’t know if you're alive or if you’d remember me. I remember you mostly as a little stone: a warm skimming-stone in children’s hands,
the earthworms loosened your heart for good cheer,
but it doesn’t help, we don’t know why
you convulse around me absently, at one corner of your mouth there’s foam.
you dissolve in the blows of your stick, start to cry and howl blindly in all directions.
Wisdom is affection is gone, is a rocking chair
that flies, and you are no more.
shoes, bedspread, reading lamp, window, snake-plant, pile of house picture magazines. three postcards from grandchildren. canary islands, china, pargas. water jug. water mug. juice jug, juice mug. back braces. spectacles. smell. diarrhea. buttoned shirt. trousers. socks. come through. Thank you. empty ceiling. empty floor. plastic mat. sticky stain. next to table leg. battery clock. walls. entrance to WC. door. window. afternoon.
Your shoulders and back are stiff
a cry left alone, which cannot find a mouth.
Yes, you can walk when you’re taken for walks.
You can open your mouth when the porridge spoon is moved towards it.
You can lie in bed and cling to the sides of the bed.
You can sit in a chair for many hours
staring at the magazine in front of you
leaning slowly forward.
You just vaporize me absently into you with your eyes.
What’s it like in there, inside you?
Every day your husband comes to smooth your cheek.
translated from Finnish by David McDuff
See also in this blog:
The house of forgetting
The house of forgetting - 2
The house of forgetting - 3
The house of forgetting - 4