Jonáš Hájek




I don’t know how to tell you
that I’m still getting your payment notices.
Things for the house, later for a child.
Being a voyeur’s no fun at all.

I don’t know how to tell you
that I shamelessly use your entire repertoire
of lame jokes to cheer up the one
I love now. (That’s how you live on in me.)

Never, not for a second, have I regretted
my decision and don’t regret it even now.
A couple of people condemn me. That’s fine.

I don’t know how and why I should even tell you,
since time has only heightened our estrangement,
that you’ve made me a man.

May these words be without pathos, irony, sentiment
or the aggression of someone who’d like to appropriate the truth –
for everything, everything, I give you my thanks.


JONÁŠ HÁJEK has published three poetry collections: Suť (Debris – Fra 2007), Vlastivěda (Social Studies – Fra 2010), Básně 3 (Poems 3 – Triáda 2013). For his first collection, he was awarded the Jiří Orten Prize and nominated for the Magnesia Litera Award in category of Discovery of the Year. He is a contributor to the magazines Souvislosti and Host. In addition to being a poet, he is also a translator of German literature (Günter Eich, Mascha Kaléko). He lives in Prague and works as an editor for a music publisher.


Read more by Jonáš Hájek:

Three more poems in B O D Y
In Memoriam for Aleš Debeljak


About the Translator:

DEBORAH GARFINKLE is a writer, translator and literary critic living in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines anthologies and literary journals in the US and abroad. The Old Man’s Verses, her first full-length translation of selected works by Czech poet Ivan Diviš, was nominated for a Northern California Book Award. Ms. Garfinkle earned both an NEA Translation Fellowship and a PEN Translation Grant for her most recent translation, Worm-Eaten Time: Poems from a Life under Normalization, poems by Pavel Šrut, which was published in 2016.