from Opera Buffa

Tomaž Šalamun

The Marquis Comes and Breaks the Fist

Little foxes prevaricate. They
grow out of me for I’m

the earth. Now they look more like
corals. The water around them

undulates. The strange flower is
the napkin. I look at it as I

might watch the same from the plane.
Sweet. Your dark

inwardness, the sunflower,
the vase. Silver to

the profligate. Baikal net. Corals
grow out of me for

I’m the earth. Plasticines. All without
water’s barrages.


We sat in the vineyard with a girdled
cave. There were pins under

bridles. The shelter gave loose, walls
started to blacken. You could go

out with a compass, not with buckwheat. Ribs
kept the explosive. I kept touching the

lady with a braid. She shrouded to herself
an additional wheat stalk. She was

Russian. She smoked cigarettes. She
took shelter on her husbands’

graves and on what screams in the
notebooks.  I dove with my

boat and cut her throat. I died mid-arc.
My Adam’s apple thrusted out.

The Silence Comes

Do you still run into the courtyard
without your head? I doubt it.

My one thing is I doubt, but the
one thing that I know too,

is that you don’t. It seems
Berija strangled him.

It doesn’t seem he died
naturally. He

was my dad. The table was
wiped up by oak chips.

The snout loses its fragrance
and spring and all. You

didn’t write your address, I couldn’t
thank you for your wishes.

Horse Snorts in the Crypt

With the story, you die instantly. You
call and die. To the hips around the

oasis. The wands grew above the ceiling.   
The bee shines. Through a strip-mining,

from time to time, boulevards face it.
O, bedded dead men, you traveled

on a golden wheel, on your
drake-hot feet. Band-aids sang

above your ears, threefold
little whistles. You filled up the

charcoal burner’s eye with shards
that you sanded off from anthills.

They were cathedrals. Let’s hope
our corpses won’t smell.

translated from the Slovenian by Matthew Moore and Tomaž Šalamun