I’m cold
close the window

here I am alone
on the hill in the cemetery
there’s a rustling wind
on April 7th
1959
tractors
drove over
all of them
a bulldozer
took away
every part of them
the collective farm needed new territory
to plant corn
and people’s flesh
was the best fertilizer
for the bright sun of the future

I needed
a few years
to understand
that all of your
dead brides
will look
at me in the mirror

frankly and honestly
it won’t work out between us

after many detours and
after such a long time
you’ll come to visit

I will dye my hair
I’ll tell myself that
those children that
everyone needed
didn’t exist
and life passed by
hopelessly and empty

you’ll turn away hurt
put wood in the stove
put on the kettle
and you might touch
my arm or shoulder
ever so slightly

I will always always
be your madonna
for whom caressing
means disappearing

the social reality is such
that it’s easier to say no
to a woman than your mom

I know what it means
to stab a heart with a knife
betray your principles
your parents’ concerns
and the chance to play the victim

it’s possible, precisely for that reason,
some men maintain their
independence
playing Counter Strike
trading in their bmws
or their girls
joining the army
or remaining hippies
not leaving their room
in an empty town
drinking themselves to death
or going out of their mind

leaving you
is a little like dying
a longing for refinement
is forever drowning

I am like anna karenina
I go over the rails of the everyday
hoping that instead of a train
vronsky will arrive

all of my karenins
have left for other
cities and happily
try to forget themselves
and not only anna

the evening before work
we watch a movie
about supermen and
superwomen
they don’t get old
they wear one and the same clothes
their worklist doesn’t change
and their career opportunities are few
or don’t exist at all
each of us has their own extra identity
you take off your mask
crawl into bed
I act
like I don’t know you
in the morning we will patrol the city
acting like the best of friends

the morning of Midsummer
we went for a swim naked
on Vecāķi beach
the sea had been filled with
shame and fear
back home all the lakes
were filled with
traditional-values
tourists, the young
the lonely
all of them were happy
only then someone
looked at them
sleeping
like they were an art object
in the last Catholic church

we definitely shouldn’t have done it
and I am not defending him

but sometimes love
produces unconditional
uncertainty
which progresses

my voice departs
with the sedge of cranes
white lines in the sky

the smell of cut potato stems and leaves
chafes between all of them
none of it has happened
none of it has been said

what hasn’t been said hasn’t happened
the roadside ditches are submerged in brushwood
the village’s spots become grown over
leaving
finalizing
is the foundation of all things

Ligija Purinaša (1991, Rēzekne, Latvia) is a poet and journalist writing in Latgalian and Latvian. She has published two collections of poems: Sīvīte [Woman, 2019], which was shortlisted in the Best Debut category at the Annual Latvian Literature Awards in 2020, and Pierobežas [Borderlands, 2022], which was longlisted in the Best Poetry Collection at said awards in 2023. Both books were also shortlisted for the Annual Latvian Literature Award in 2020 and 2023. In 2020 her poems were included in a bilingual Latgalian poetry anthology entitled The Last Model / Pādejais modeļs (Francis Boutle Publishers). Her poems have also been translated into German and Czech.

Jayde Will (1978) is a writer and literary translator working from Latgalian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Estonian, and German into English. He has an M.A. in Fenno-Ugric Linguistics from Tartu University. Since 2007 he has translated close to 30 books, ranging from Lithuanian history to Latgalian poetry. He received the 2020 Silver Ink Translation Award for Best Translation from Latvian into a Foreign Language for his translation of Latvian writer Alberts Bels’s seminal novel “Insomnia” (Parthian Press, 2020). His own essays, short stories, and poetry have been published widely in literary and lifestyle magazines, including Words Without Borders, Panel Magazine, Lituanus, Vilnius Review, and The Passenger.

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