I'd give anything for Akhmatova to step down
from Petrov-Vodkin's picture, and, fixing me
with that gaze … lie down by my side
in the dark.
In spring I am visited only by desires
Nothing left to do but lose myself in things.
"In spring, all the birds
return to Bibirevo."
"Do you remember me showing you that man
sitting at the head of the table at the Belvedere?"
Enchanted by direct speech.
A woman on the train, talking
to her only son as if to a lover.
Elbows touching. A brief sigh.
"Don't eat it all. We'll travel in the dark."
A visit to the sanatorium
Gertude takes me aside
entrusting me with manuscripts rescued from the fire.
An ancistrus dances on the wall
and her shadow, when she begs me
- tell him that my name is not Bertha.
Shaking off dust insects from her shoulders
- Bertha… does he ever talk to you
A gaping window, a terrace
full of pigeons, animal vortex, then
nothing but Gertrude's charged silence
the terrace sinks, the room goes up in flames
Yes, I live inside the piano.
but there is no need for you
to come and visit me.
These poems were first published in A Fine Line: New Poetry from Central and Eastern Europe (Arc Publications, 2004) in translation by Alexandra Büchler.
Kateřina Rudčenková was born in Prague in 1976, where she still lives. Since 1998 she has published poems in Czech dailies and literary magazines, and is the author of poetry collections Ludwig (1999), No Need for You to Visit Me (2002), Ashes and Delight (2004) and the collection of stories Nights, Nights (2004). A bilingual book of her poetry, Nicht nötig, mich zu besuchen (Wieser Verlag, Austria, 2002) was awarded the Hubert Burda Award for young Eastern European poets.