partings taught me

Murathan Mungan

partings taught me
how to rot in my own poison like a wild plant

the frost on my face steams
in the limpid indifference of glass
my gaze a fixed nail, lifeless window
it was all only yesterday
is it the denial in time or the chasm in me
that changes the world so
before everyone's eyes
existence is now dubious,
silence tantamount to peril, memories to lunacy
like a wounded beast that worlds cannot contain
i overflow my flesh
as if to reaffirm my faith
falling apart all the while

should someone cough in the stairwell
i rush to the door
my heart beating and banging
then the door closing shut on one of the lower floors
a snapped rope just lies there at the mouth of nothingness

a black coffin in the middle of the living room
staring at me with all the might of silence
as indifferent as a corpse, as cruel
that black object
all day long
i stare at it like a beast in captivity
if it would ring, ring, only ring
sometimes other people call
sometimes it is as cheap as a prank: wrong number
days, nights, hours, months
it was above all partings that taught me what time is

footsteps in the stairwell
the doors to my soul fling open every time
no one, no one, there is just no one there
partings taught me
how indistinguishable sounds become when you are lonely
a blaring radio, someone has made fried food, trash bags left out early,
the occasional smell of wet cloth on wiped stairs
i learned what mistakes mean from partings too
through eyes altered by time
i saw like a stranger
my childhood, its growth choked by unhappiness,
when even those long summers immersed in makeup exams failed to teach
                    it to me

only years later did i take my childhood by the hand
and own the breakdown in myself

then what?
nothing, as always
everything fell into place
while the moment branded my flesh
time took me by the hand
your love which once tormented me
stripped its slough from my skin
it was above all partings that taught me:
suicide is the invariable likelihood of my life

day by day i grew thinner inside
i started to forget
i started to forget
the phone too like any household item
settled in its place among the mundane
it was above all partings that taught me
how objects turn docile with time
doors became doors again
a flight of steps, again a staircase
in the wake of details that have lost their magic
to reminisce without slipping into nothingness
despite it all, to resemble our former selves before the parting
the golden rule every time, i learned:
gullibility is the greatest victory of the heart, not love
never mind that it sprouted in this love
the wild sorrow in me
has its roots in the one before
in the shoot that i pruned out of myself
partings taught me:
with time nothing hurts any longer as it used to

i did not forget any of them, but i aged

translated from the Turkish by Buğra Giritlioğlu