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Zita Izso: a poem

Photograph by Laura Veres


After the painting "Bytí" ("Being") by Ivana Pavlová

One reason

for our being unable to become intimate

might be that we are scared of warmth;

that we're afraid

former confessions would emerge,

like text fingered into the moisture

when someone breathes

against the windowpane.

We might succeed

if someone built a tunnel

under our houses;

one so long

that after days of wandering

we couldn't tell days and nights apart,

wouldn't know when to wake up

or do our routine tasks;

when to eat, drink or quarrel;

when to start being frightened.

Now we are like those dead

who are resurrected in the night.

They do the same

as any decent person would:

they desperately try to get back to sleep.

Translated by Agnes Marton.

Zita Izso is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the Zsigmond Móricz Literary Grant, the Mihály Babits Literary Translator Grant and the NKA Arts Grant. She published her third poetry collection in 2018 under the title Éjszakai földet érés (Nighttime Landing).

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