Sunday, 28 April 2013

No Man's Land

by Pia Tafdrup

My grey cat vanishes,
or has it acquired a new life
   at Nivå Brickworks?
At night I hear it calling…
Search for it, search again the next day.
Live in a vacuum, while my father
looks for another farm,
but learn in sun and dust to cycle,
shoot myself forward like a mainspring,
   ever further out
on Vibevej, along the residential gardens.
Lilacs, laburnums,
an olfactory orgy to sweep past.
Shall I vanish like the cat,
for there is no one to play with,
   and over the summer
I lose
    tooth after tooth in my hollowed hand.
When my mother takes an afternoon nap
with no hands on the clock 
the first one falls out,
but leaving
      a bloody hole
the tongue’s tip wants to drill down into
– instead of calling, speaking.
Taste of iron in the mouth. Blood words.
Cave language. Tongue pit.
A tooth
as a daisy growing in the grass
in the garden of the house we rent
   and under whose roof my mother in the rain
now and then sings
                      "Solitude Road".
In the house with creaky stairs
and smells of strangers
   there is a studio
we may not enter, my sister and I,
   there I seek refuge –
sit for hours on the floor, contemplate
the radiant pictures’
                  vanishing grey.

translated from Danish by David McDuff