The door always used to swing shut, by itself, for years and years, with measured haste.
Now it stands utterly still.
Next to it, a woman guiltily picks up a large undershirt that fell from the line overnight. A man watches the woman with the shirt. Probably the wind. During the night.
Both would like to know when, when exactly it happened. Both would like to be in that moment.
PETR HRUŠKA is a poet and literary scholar who lives in Ostrava and works at the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague. His poetry collections include Obývací nepokoje (Restless Living Rooms, 1995), Měsíce (Months, 1998), Vždycky se ty dveře zavíraly (The Door Always Used to Swing Shut, 2002), and Auta vjíždějí do lodí (The Cars Drive into the Ships, 2007). In 2013, he won the State Award for Literature in recognition of his collection Darmata (To No Travail, 2012). He has said of his poetry: “I think that real grace and erotic love appear only where all the gloominess, stress, and weariness of life are in some sense present as well, all the ‘loneliness of relationships.’ Only in their midst can a tenuous thread of light shine, containing all the fateful nearness of which two people are capable.” Collections of his poetry have been published in German, Polish, Italian, Hungarian, and Slovenian translation.
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About the Translator:
JONATHAN BOLTON is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University, where he teaches Czech and Central European literature. He has edited and translated a collection of a hundred poems by Ivan Wernisch, In the Puppet Gardens: Selected Poems, 1963-2005 (Michigan Slavic Publications, 2007), and his translations of Czech prose and poetry have appeared in the journal Circumference, Dalkey Archive’s Best European Fiction 2018, and elsewhere.