An old lover

Poem By Maarja Kangro

When a hairy white leg shows
from under his black trousers,
I have to look.
I look at the belly under his jacket:
it hasn't been growing much.
I watch his hands: of those on stage,
his are the most delicate.
I shouldn't look
at his eyes for long, but it's already too late.
When he starts to speak,
I tense up,
when his sentence breaks, I'll sqeak
with the chair. I'm like a parent
at a school concert.

Now they offer grapes and cookies.
I'll go to the other hall
only for drinks, of course.
Oh, isn't that -! Oh, hello.
I observe his eyes, his neck,
his groin: warm, about a metre away.
I wonder whether the ex-colonists
observe in the same way.
This ground once belonged to us.
How should we touch it now?
How are you doing now -
not too good, right?
You've got hunger and epidemies,
guerillas and dictators
that we will have to contain.
We know of sheds and cars on fire,
starving kids with swollen stomachs.

His teeth don't rot,
his cheeks don't sink,
his eyes aren't red.
Judging by his breath,
he hasn't taken to drinking.
The ex-colonist studies meticulously.
Where are my traces,
the Other's trauma, my historical justification?

Now we're eating grapes
and drinking brandy,
yes, we're eating grapes
and drinking brandy.

Translated by the author

Comments about An old lover

Beautiful piece of poetry, well articulated and nicely penned in good diction with conviction. Thanks for sharing Maarja.


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