THROUGH THE LAKE, THROUGH THE WATER by Johannes Anyuru trans. Brad Harmon
THROUGH THE LAKE, THROUGH THE WATER
The beeches stand there, imposing, untouched,
steeped in time: I wander
through tall yellow hall of leaves
and listen to the open
chords: October, whoever cries here
the wood bridge has sucked the salve dry.
The underworldly bamboo flutes resound
through the lake, through the water, the wind is
lead poured into stone molds.
I happen to end up
on that strip of beach
where you and I made love one summer day
in the short dry grass.
There’s a you in every poem,
a courage or a great fear, there are
constellations carved out right here,
spokes of blue in the eye of the migratory birds, the words
you laughingly taught me to pronounce.
And the Black Portuguese
spoken in Mozambique
is still the softest language
To my ears, all your words sound round and powerful,
like our “love”
Days when I
stand with my eyes closed
and feel around. As if by a hard
kick, as if by a caress.
Your short, light-blue summer dress
fluttering away through the burning foliage.
The weather changes sex. The dark lake
Brad Harmon is a writer, translator and scholar of Scandinavian and German literature. His work has appeared in journals such as Astra, Chicago Review, Cincinnati Review, Denver Quarterly, Firmament, Plume, and Poetry. In 2021, he was invited to attend the Översättargruvan translation workshop and in 2022, he was an ALTA Emerging Translator fellow. He lives in Baltimore, where he’s a PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University.