Poetry by Rodica Draghincescu, Translated from the Romanian by Diana Manole

Things Animals and Humans


Of all that’s yet unwritten
I speak about this to make it happen
to have it built out of the blue like other voices in other rooms
that I didn’t get to enter
because I was too sure that nothing exists when there’s nothing


Nothing some say somewhere and it resounds here in a repetitive void: nobody nobody nobody nobody distorted into a halo like a veil of howls on a photographic plate through which a beam of light strokes the darkness, end to end Children holding paper lanterns climb up the blooming cherry trees to cheer a bit closer to heaven for the COVID-19-infected hospitals across the street At eight o’clock everybody plays grateful house arrest music

The drunk from the house at the back walks a poor white puppy on a noose Just as frantic

as he his girls follow him with their babies in rag marsupia Each one drags another white dog with their teeth (their hands hold the children to breastfeed them) The chief mother lights the way with a flashlight yelling at the new moms that they are going too fast for babies who came into the world only this March and she’s fat and old and breathes heavily with a wheezing decrepit Dalmatian in her arms too feeble to keep after them and after her and after the chief of the pack.

Things animals and humans aren’t what they used to be
but they keep on just as rustling in their intimate structure
through which microbes passions and moods and incurable fixations pass.


Lucruri animale
și oameni


Din toate câte nu se scriu încă

Eu spun ca să se întâmple

Să se clădească din senin ca alte glasuri din alte încăperi pe care nu am apucat să le deschid fiindcă eram prea sigură că nimic nu există când nu există nimic

Nimic spun undeva și se aude aici în gol repetitiv : nimeni nimeni nimeni nimeni nimeni distorsionat în halou ca un văl de icnete produs pe o placă fotografică în care a pătruns un fascicol de lumină dintr-un capăt la celălalt al întunericului doi cireși înfloriți în care s-au cățărat cu lampioane zburătoare copiii să aplaude mai aproape de cer spitalele infectate cu COVID-19 peste drum la ora opt se pune muzică de domiciliu forțat

Bețivul de la casa din spate plimbă într-un streang un biet cățel alb la fel de agitate ca el îl urmează fetele lui cu copiii în marsupii din cârpe fiecare trage în dinți alt câine alb (mâinile dau țâță copiilor în timp ce mama de bază le luminează cu lanterna potecile din față și urlă la lăuze că merg prea repede pentru niște prunci veniți pe lume în martie iar ea e grasă și bătrână și răsuflă cu un dalmațian ramolit la piept prea gâfâit ca să se mai țină după ele și după ea și după șeful hoardei.

Lucruri animale și oameni care nu mai sunt ce-au fost dar există la fel de foşnitori în structura lor intimă peste care trec microbi pasiuni şi toane și fixuri nevindecabile.

A linguistics researcher, cultural expert, bilingual writer, performance poet, and translator, Rodica Draghincescu received numerous national and international literary awards and published 22 books. Her most recent collection of poems is L’adversaire de soie et de cendres (2019). She is the founding director of the multilingual, multidisciplinary magazine Levure Littéraire.

About the contributor

Diana Manole is a Romanian-Canadian scholar, writer, and literary translator. The winner of the 2020 Very Small Verse Contest of the League of Canadian Poets and of second prize in the 2017/18 John Dryden Translation Competition, Diana’s seventh collection of poems, Praying to a Landed-Immigrant God, is forthcoming from Grey Borders Books. 

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