Opened the door to chat with a municipal councillor and forgot I had a puppy suckling on my earlobe as I burped him. And puppy puke down the back of my sweater.
”What a great brute he will be,” said the councillor approvingly.
No he won’t, not a brute anyway. I myself (like Lou and others) am wary and distrustful of large dogs especially more aggressive breeds. But I grew up with very gentle and affectionate ridgebacks and dobermanns and bull mastiffs, so I know that nurture and training is key. And Great Danes are known for their sleepy sweet natures.
In between caring for the dog and playing with my other dogs and listening to the housemate praise the new puppy, cooking meals and trying to do professional writing, I read poems. And reflect on gratitude and, of all the impossible things, love. And patience.
Translated from Slovenian by Andrew Zawacki and by Ales Debeljak
I learn things by myself, which is why
it takes so long. I’m asking you
to be patient. That’s not asking much.
I learn by myself, learn to cross the village,
it’s not every day I recognize you
in the timberwork of the roof,
the builders’ sweat alight in the air even now.
The river is sluggish here, the lake is asleep,
one’s step less heavy, but I’m no longer
convinced I’ve read it right: instructions
for painting a woodpecker’s wings in red
and black and red, and how to cast a spell upon
the ankles of a pregnant girl. I don’t know
nor want to know her name, and maybe that’s
the reason I can’t breathe, but I won’t forget
the way she makes me feel. Did I really
read it right? Okay, I accept these signposts
in the humid moss, in the backbone curving
throughout every season, in scarlet shells
cracked apart at the feast to which I’m called.
Yes, this I accept. But where in the language
should I look for you, when the language
is unworthy of what you are? It might be
that you assume a common form, such as love,
or maybe you’re something awful down the road
that will, after all, come to pass.