Tóth Krisztina költő, író, műfordító

Fotó: Bulla Bea     

East-Europe Triptych


The loudspeaker calls out our names
and we jump up. Our names are
misspelled and mispronounced,
but we smile graciously.
We take the soap from the hotel,
and arrive too early at the station.
With heavy suitcases, in baggy trousers,
everywhere one of our compatriots loitering.
The trains go with us in the wrong directions,
and if we pay, the small change rolls everywhere.

At our borders we’re afraid, and beyond that
we get lost, but recognize each other.
We know the other side of the world,
the sweat-drenched clothes beneath the coat.
Below us stands the escalator, the handle
of the shopping bag filled to bursting rips, and when
we leave, the alarm goes off.
Beneath our skin, like a radiating jewel,
is the microchip of a guilty conscience.


I know where you live, I know that city well.
I know that black rainfall.
Your mother used to sunbathe on the roof,
in the summer you swam in the quarry lake.
I know that man, his legs amputated,
who lives in the entranceway.
I know that country, I know
its trains, its cries, its chlorine heavens,
its acid rains, its lingering snowfalls,
its pale overly-swaddled infants.

I know where you live. No matter where it is,
if you happen to think of home, the road bordered
with the stumps of acacia trees
haunts you in your dreams.
During the feast, when they drag in
the tree, like a dead man, too heavy, grabbing at the foot,
you stop and look, as it is cast out to the others.
I know what you see: the disheveled heap of human bodies,
on every one of their extended yellow hands
a forgotten jewel: plundered
blue and gold Christmas-candy wrappers.


My name is Alina Moldova.
I come from Eastern Europe,
I am 170 centimeters in height,
my life expectancy is 56 years.
I have amalgam fillings in my teeth,
in my heart I carry an inherited dread.
When I speak English, no one understands me,
when I speak French, no one understands me,
It is only the language of fear
that I speak without an accent.

My name is Alina Moldova.
My heart valves are an unmanned rail-crossing,
poisons circulate within my veins,
my life expectancy is 56 years.
I support my ten-year-old son,
I get hold of some flour, step onto moving trains.
You can hit me, you can shake me,
but my earring only jangles a little,
like a loosened part
in a motor still running.


Translated by Ottilie Mulzet


Welcome , today is vasárnap, 2019-05-19