Thursday, 6 March 2014

A Translation in Bed with her Source Text

A Translation in Bed with her Source Text

Stay close to me, he said. She said you know it isn’t done
to talk of fidelity now. He said I do so love
to see you here on these white sheets
facing me. To see your graceful form with lines
akin to mine, yet quite unlike. He said
you are so strange to me. She said
sometimes I wish we could be closer, but I am done
judging myself by you, and by all those who’ve gone before.
I’m no longer even sure I should go on
sharing this space with you. He said
you could be different. And you believe, she said,
that you could not? You’ve changed, he said.
You’re still there, wearing my shirt, but your tongue
is wilder, does not serve my whims. She said
you think you’re so original; but all your words
and all of your positions were thought of first by others. He said
but I came first! No-one’s disputing that, she said.
It’s time I found my voice. I will always
bear the traces of your touch, but you cannot
dictate to me. He said I am the sun to your satellite,
the centre of the polysystem while you cling
to the periphery. You could say, she said,
that I am edgy. Hey! he said.
I didn’t make that joke. I know, she said,
that’s how it’s going to be from now on.
And most of what you say is buried deep, you don’t even know
you’re saying it. Some other translation after me
is going to deconstruct you, drag out the monsters
hidden in your depths. You need her;
you’re so set in your ways.

Livvy Hanks

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