by Mischa Andriessen
Lamb on the table.
The men in the room
laugh and betray their claim
on the stocks of wine and spirits.
The servants have all gone
the girls last, their obligations
Someone whistles, someone hits out, he's dizzy.
Down, he shouts, ready
to repeat it, but they obey.
Surrounded by instant silence
he is immediately returned to the room
rubbing his eyes, forcing himself
to look further, to go further.
He claps his hands
walks without looking back.
They will follow.
He should have seen it sooner
so he could see it. So naked
she's returned to an essential state
she won't forget too soon now he's
lost sight of this impression of her
as - but she has changed.
Sharp claws are lurking in the fur
that now conceals her nakedness.
She registers his eyes, his features
intent because she's not insensitive
on what will be more sensual still than what he's thought
a shade no one will recognise as him.
You walk - there is nothing
in the darkness of the woods
that you don't know and even now
lit silver, have not seen before.
You could close your eyes and find
your way back home - the trees
the bushes, the fresh prints
of hooves in sand.
It's not far now.
Easy, boys. The pack
jumps up against you. You laugh.
Easy now, it's me, look.
Translation: 2017, David Colmer