That crystal morning, snow over snow: in capital cities they might

be ashamed of it. That conference of birds, and light upon water, the

parliament of dreams that knows no fear of getting old, and she, alone

this winter morning, her face that sees itself within a flower etched by

ice along the glass, her reflection thawing and piercing the window: is

she really so strange? Outside, her shadow sputters again like a match

refusing gravity and singe. In the vast expanse of frost and worry, not

even a minute to think, she was the one with the courage to disobey

silence, disobey orders, she could not be voted down and said: Look, in

the shallows of this common river the Black Sea claims as its own, fish

still wriggle out of a boy's hands, tracing a nearly perfect arc,

and with them everything that flows, everything that falls, rushes

without reason as one's childhood rushes by-- look: we are not a

wall but a shutter some far-off god is opening halfway.

Translated from the Slovenian by Andrew Zawacki and the Author

Winner of the Slovenian National Book Award and other honors, ALE

DEBELJAK is a poet, cultural critic, and translator whose books have

appeared in over a dozen languages. His poetry volumes in English are

The City and the Child (White Pine, 1999), Dictionary of Silence (Lumen,

1999), and Anxious Moments (White Pine, 1994), and his most recent

scholarly work is The Hidden Handshake: National Identity and Europe in

the Post-Communist World (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004). He directs

the Center for Cultural and Religious Studies at the University of


ANDREW ZAWACKI is the author of two poetry books, Anabranch

(Wesleyan, 2004) and By Reason of Breakings (Georgia, 2002). Coeditor of

Verse and of The Verse Book of Interviews (Verse, 2005), he also edited

Afterwards: Slovenian Writing 1945-1995 (White Pine, 1997).

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