Bread + Raisins

by Aleš Šteger


Every time, he leads you into temptation to become a gentleman
Who feeds on crumbs under his servant’s table.

He asks you to do him harm, for you to stab him,
To shred him to pieces, consume his still warm body.

Without shame he appears to you naked as a Creation.
He is a pervert. He provokes you with abstinence.

But he is being given you and you give. And every morning
And every evening you repeat the floury game.

He made you into a crematory of guilt.
When he feeds you, you speak and instantly are more famished.

Yes, yes, he loves you, that is why he accepts your knife.
He knows that all his wounds crumble in your hands.

Translated from the Slovenian by Brian Henry



Whose veins, whose loves, whose traces,
Whose time evaporated in the wrinkles of raisins.

The cool grains of past summers. You eat them and you eat.
As you would eat the fingertips of god, which hold all.

Reduced to the utter humility of the aged.
Like handfuls of pensioners on a pilgrimage.

They rise from the table and plunge into your roof.
The whole bunch rises. Truly rises.

Whose arteries, whose fears, whose traces,
Whose gargling gulps down the wrinkles in raisins.

The ancient fingers grab you from within,
Choking you until you spit out their name.


Translated from the Slovenian by Brian Henry


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