from subsong

Ulrike Draesner

journey of the infant as a flowering ball
around half the earth

in the forest everything was one
from the meadows the white mist rose
wondrous a        cat that lived only
in her hand.        she had dreamed
of magnetic resonance        or invented proteins
was three years old and loved
a stick that served as her mother
Sumudu in the forest
with the penguin        white-black
flapping wings        she paid attention to
the differences        the minute
movements of mouths that everywhere
happened        now to her        the human face
once seemed but a mirror        shimmering thin
the birds
from the realm beyond speech
oh how she slept
after landing
in the buggy
dragged a foot on the ground
stroked the strange soil
fearing flowering


a gray-skinned child long hair dark the brown face smeared with white
small, frail in loose clothing a gray fleece gray trousers
tight walking shoes a wolf-child, in her manner broad-shouldered
down the few steps of the bus a small being still
after a three-day kindergarten trip smelling of sheep, earth, donkey
as if speechless in herself with a wild predatory look
she came for a couple of seconds foreign to me
down the steps of the bus the few steps one
whole world down after three days so foreign to me. we had to
look again back to where we were we drive towards each other
the tenacious self-binding ideas
manifested as our interlinked arms, hands
when i, supporting her on my arm, stirred her more deeply
she said "ow" as if i had a bearded face
as if my wolfish beard had grazed her
my wolfish look.

i had stalked you for so long
i stroke 

i ever i ever

one gifted nag . . . he maintained TOP
OFFER "payments" for me: said "calm
down" "stand on" flexible
he rode tamed sybils healed
and advised. charisma spawned only
by generating RED-HOT CASH
COWS: silky wedding rings foldable
hor . . . horses. my seven-year-old daughter
had the horse-spleen whereas i
couldn't tell apart the hosiannahs
of hoofed animals. they were long-maned stayed
on the market like word-and-deed riddles
like the sideways push of a mouth
from embarrassment from nights of teeth-gnashing.
                                    were now likely
aging female nags. always feeling nasty becoming
more sensitive receding gums exposed
tooth-necks. the charlatan takes the money runs
flushed purple as a 500 note. obviously
a shyster my daughter says a horse
taken at face value is essentially
a metabolic prince.

frayed i bowed my head.
momentarily in a tizzy
a short piece

my daughter, so-called
filly, says: come! i'll
first clean this hump for you
then you have to
get over it

tenderest gesture
i ever i ever

translated from the German by Bernadette Geyer