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At the Winter Window

by Kito Lorenc

translated from the German by Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright


We waited
for the winter wren, the snow king,
not one bird
flew into the pane
The birch tree disappeared
and I bought another round
of white wine
Neighbor Glasseye said
IN THE OLD DAYS WE HAD TWO
SLEIGHS IN THE STALL
AND NOT THE
GHOST OF A HORSE
Then he roasted Subletter Steaks
on the flat-iron1
BUT IN THE LABORATORIES I SAID
NOW YOU CAN EVEN
MANUFACTURE WORMS
FROM A THOUSAND LITTLE PIECES
And so on.
Don’t ask me
what anyone else is running off
at the mouth about
At any rate no one came
by or only just
as I was away from the window

 

1. wallsocket in the stairwell

 

Kito Lorenc (b. 1938) lives in Wuischke and writes also in Sorbic, the language of a tiny minority in eastern Germany about which even Germans know very little. His books include Gegen den Großen Popanz (Against the Great Bogeyman, Aufbau, 1990) and Suki w zakach (Sorbic, roughly “Knots in the Pockets,” Domowina-Verlag, 1998).

Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright is a literary translator who lives in Waltham, Mass. She spent a year in Berlin translating work by non-native German authors, and her translations of the German-Turkish poets Zafer Senocak and Zehra Çirak have appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, Delos, and Dimension2. She recently translated Ernst Peter Fischer’s Beauty and the Beast: The Aesthetic Moment in Science. She works as a German-language financial typesetter. (2000)

 


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