from Paris Notebook

Tereza Riedlbauchová

Thank you for your momentary stay in my solitude
my body was already so opaque
you opened it like a clam from head to toe
sharp sunlight erupted
you passed fiercely over my limbs
in ecstasy as if sleepwalking

A flock of bats flies inside my body
Once in Saint-Émilion I entered a large house
in twelve rooms bats flew into the walls
my hosts told me I was a witch
and instead of burning me
put me to bed in the most beautiful room

I am drifting between thighs to the sound of rattlesnakes
it feels like she is filled with lava and honey
in her I find a vast Mexican land
and the points of Aztec pyramids
she lies open before me

He spoke to her in French, Spanish
and other unintelligible vernaculars
he had eyes like two wild bees
and black hair like rope and long arrows
she laid open before him

Behind closed windows and closed doors
a salon with a piano and fish in an aquarium
behind the window a bunch of posies
in the window a piece of sculpture
on the windowsill a barrier of dirty ashtrays
quietly the door inside closes
without anyone leaving

All my roads led here


translated from the Czech by Stephan Delbos