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Anna Terék: a poem

Back On The Sun

Can you see the earth, mister?

Nice, unbroken soil.

Though the sun beats it with her fists

every morning,

strains it apart every night.

This is the earth I've been frozen in


And this cold is crawling inside me,

up and up.

But it's not possible to leave, mister.

Allegedly, the world repeats itself

everywhere at the same time,

people are unable to wriggle out of

their earth, they would equally freeze

in other, stranger lands.

Stand in front of me.

Be my shield.

Those afraid like to look just a bit ahead,

no matter what's in the distance.

You'd be better to let it go, mister.

Should you be smarter,

you wouldn't stay

across from me, back on the sun.

This is why my father is standing

behind me. So are three legions,

kids beaten up with crimson slots

for mouths.

Imagine, mister,

how bright Canada is!

You'd be loved there too,

but instead you are standing here,

too scared to move,

staring at me.

But why me, mister?

I became such a coward

that you can't see my face.

In Canada,

snow is said to be made of silver.

Frost doesn't bite your muscles;

people laugh.

You'll be smiling back at me from there,

and I'll beckon to you

frozen knee-deep into the earth.

Translated by Agnes Marton

Anna Terék was born in Bačka Topola, Vojvodina, (the former) Yugoslavia in 1984. She works as a school psychologist in Budapest. Her first book of poems, Tear of the Smile (Mosolyszakadás), was published in 2007 and the second, Danube Street (Duna utca), in 2011. This won the Ervin Sinkó Prize. Her first drama, Jelentkezzenek a legjobbak! (Neka se jave najbolji!), premiered in the Serbian National Theatre. Her third collection, Dead Women (Halott nők), got the Géza Csáth Prize and the János Sziveri Prize in 2017. It was translated into Croatian, German and Polish. Her latest book was published in 2020 with the title Back on the Sun (Háttal a napnak). It was awarded the Milán Füst Prize in the same year.


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