translated from the French by Kathleen McGookey
A half-century separates us. Saturday, when I bring you, with your yellow hair and backpack, to my studio, you tell me about your week and at dinner you drink three liters of water and talk to me about Kant as if you had been at war with him. Sometimes, I don’t agree; you show your claws and dig them in me. You’re called the Egyptian because of your dark complexion and almond eyes. You are a beautiful girl, the daughter of your father, my friend, and I could be his father. These are fragile matters, properly handled with caution and love, so they will last.
Georges Godeau was born in 1921 in Villiers-en-Plaine, France, worked as an engineer, and published sixteen books before his death in 1999. His work won the Prix du Livre in Poitou-Charentes. Though he is widely translated into Russian and Japanese, almost none of his writings have appeared in English.
Kathleen McGookey’s first book of poems, Whatever Shines, is available from White Pine Press. More of her translations of Godeau’s work appear in Chase Park, Connecticut Review, Denver Quarterly, The Interlochen Review, Mid-American June 5, 2008Salt Hill, and Stand. (10/2007)