from An Undifferentiated State

Adina Dabija

Whitened by his herds

In his honor,
I was green.
He was standing between two ships, smoking.
In my dream, my beauty climbed into the mirror of his eyes
sending his herds to graze me head to toe.
On the ships, there were algae-scented women
and these women lit chandeliers for him
and sang about the moon.
One morning, he wasn't there anymore.
I was whitened by his herds and yellowed beneath them,
but he left me a note in sand that he went to buy apples.
At night, I saw him on the moon,
at the top of the table, having a party.
The algae-scented women were pouring him new wine,
writing with their bodies
the names of his desires.
Since then, mother pulls the shades at night
and tells me other stories.

The woman who ate the day and the night

I dreamed I sucked all daylight
into my colossal breasts,
then I divided it between men.

I was left only with the night,
and even that soon disappeared
into the crevice
between my legs.

The years and the raven

She was seventeen womanly years old,
he was seventeen boyish years old,
and they sat under the willow tree.
At their feet,
death was asking them to forgive its existence
and moonlight was kneeling.
was running through their fingers
and by the corners of their mouths.

she was thirty-seven womanly years old,
he was seventeen manly years old,
and they sat on a bench.
A raven watched them from the willow, under the moon.

translated from the Romanian by Claudia Serea

Read the original in Romanian

Adina Dabija writes poems and theatre plays. Her first book, poezia-papusa (The Barbie Poem, Cartea Româneasca, 1997), was awarded the Bucharest Writers Association Guild Prize. Her second book, Stare nediferentiată (An Undifferentiated State, Brumar Publishing House, 2006), was distinguished with the Tomis Award. She lives in New York, where she practices Oriental Medicine.

Claudia Serea is a Romanian-born poet who immigrated to the U.S. in 1995. Her poems and translations have appeared in New Letters, 5 a.m., Meridian, Word Riot, Apple Valley Review, and many others. A two-time Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, she is the author of Angels & Beasts (Phoenicia Publishing, Canada, 2012), The System (Cold Hub Press, New Zealand, 2012), and A Dirt Road Hangs from the Sky (8th House Publishing, Canada, forthcoming). You can find more about her at her website.