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Baseine: in the swimming pool (Lithuanian); Bas: quietly (French); Sein: to be (German) For more Poetry from Lithuania
Neringa Abrutyte Neringa Abrutyte


Translated by Egle Verseckaite


The Swimming Pool

You need to swim for a long time and get your eyes filled with water, so that when you
closed your eyes before sleep you'd see an azure bottom that, together with spirit-clear
water would soothe your soul. But in such a sky
there is no depth. And the soul itself is only a yellowish little ray,
something for which it's easy to be quietly: Ba-Sein-e: in a swimming pool.

A swimming pool is better than drugs—I hear a colleague, whose
phone call woke me up.—What did you do tonight?—I dropped off to sleep
clasping Baudelaire's "Paris Spleen." —As I jumped up because of the plinking of the
telephone, I felt that my fourth
finger, the one I had put into the book instead of a marker, had become numb. Getting
out of bed, I see one of my legs dragging on the ground
like a lifeless bone.

Sometimes it's good that phone calls wake you up: you just sit down and
write about it? That man. . . "And after the swimming pool I wanted to die so much. . . "
And this kind of writing is only swimming sinking, with a mouthful
filled with golden bubbles, you calm down, blowing them out
through a straw seized accidentally. Memories like zuckli
chirr in your head. Now I'm going to drink some coffee. I throw a couple
of saccharin-free granules into the coffee.

Are you my woman?—he liked to ask being excited. —I was
a foolish duck, you drake! —I'd retort now. If you were
older, oooh! if you were a mature woman, you'd be so
proud of me not needing any other except you. . .
"OOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooh!"

Enough.
I want to swim much longer after that—otherwise I drown
in absolute apathy. If you went out on the streets in
such a condition, you'd spend lots of money. . . And friends? Not for that!
I'm not going out on the streets. I've sort of decided to live in a right,
or orderly, way.

The swimming pool is my desire.
True, I can't swim. Here I am floating by the very edge
of the sidewall like a croaking fish.
Tough men dive past me, seemingly hitting
the bottom with their heads.
My heavy body rolls out onto the dry land like
a sea. Shivering with cold, I go to the sauna—I'll take a seat
by the feverish stones. How well we understand
each other! As if I were one of them. That's why I go to the swimming pool alone—to
meet them. I like the hard
and hot hearts of the saunas.

Fiery pebbles. . .
Their bodies are inviolable. They don't try to console me. Because of them
you can't see those sitting beside you, those who draw the air in, inhaling
the hissing anger of the stones.

You need to swim for a long time, so that later you'll see for much longer—
The azure,
The azure freedom, running over the edge and filling your
emptiness. . .
By the way, you can't pee in the swimming pool. Reacting,
chlorinated water would blush like shame, red as light
blood.

Maybe—a little wound would open in the swimming pool?