For more Poetry from Lithuania
Marius Burokas Marius Burokas

Translated by Shawn Kerry KeysKerry Shawn Keys


I would so much like to be
a Rosicrucian, Mother
to live secretly in a cellar
in a castle, accessible
to no one

I would have
lots of good intentions
a pronounceable surname
and a fiefdom of peasants

I would perform rituals
after swearing fealty by candlelight
to the Master of the Order

and in the morning
I would ascend the ramparts
the tallest tower
the North Wind
fluttering my cloak
spurs striking sparks


what can be better
when no one knows
how secret and good you are

do you remember those two islands

do you remember those two islands
which you, groaning, separated
sometime after the dose of arsenic
in the burnt porridge—we do it this way
in Paris—like Madame Laforge—
she said, wiping her hands

do you remember those two sons
whom you unshelled, separating
the eggwhites from the yellow yolks of joy
in a sterile room—behind the window,
the Bahnhof, September and rain

do you remember
the blue city on both sides of the river,
sad violinists baptized with
pomegranates, feet slashed by sunlight,
palms on the table, the laugh
of wine, together, mine, me

do you remember being covered up, wheeled, shaken,
eyes—grapes on the plate of the ceiling,
the chalked outline of the body,

turn me into dice

turn me
into dice—sides alike,
fortune-telling faces,
I meekly submit my head
and everything—that's not mine—
the bike, the bakery in the morning
with bodies smothered in pleasure,
curdled asphalt,
the general store
with foot-worn floor,
crawling over the townbridge with dignity—
everything left at low tide:
unsure things, walnuts
of memory—
scoop out the eyes and slide the loaded dice
so I can lie to myself—
then we can face each other
over the cloth-covered table,
here while time is ours
before everyone drowns
in the roaring green