Mircea Ivanescu

From: Some Fragments

only, there, where it seemed so simple to think
myself into some other one—a bearded young man
seated at a table, and nursing between his hands—why were
his hands so cold?—a glass where a white, limpid, blind
eye was fixing him—there where once i used to say
to myself that “where once the waters of your eyes
spun to my screw…” and so on, that glassy time is frozen
stiff, and the room all around has cast its image in a pool
of ice—a map image, rounded and deep,
and inside this cylinder of ice there is only the feeling
that the land i once was living in
had been forgotten. I knew, once i could have moved my words
into little pawns on that chequeur board—and tell myself
i was getting close to changing them finally
into a living queen—and now to see how
they stood there, inert, cast in ice—
                                                                         and it is not true.
for, see, as i sat there telling myself i hear
“a kind of cry from a very arctic winter” and that
“there are glimpses of shadows who seem
to signal something inaudible and important,” there come
her words, saying she thinks those pawns
could rise out of the stone—
like in a piano piece when the player’s fingers
hold still for a moment—and in that split second,
before she resumes her playing, the world is still whole,
only so, cast in ice, stopped in stone—and the words
to tell it to resume breathing cannot break
out of this stony charm—

— translated from the Romanian by the author