TWO POEMS by Dana Ranga, trans. Christina Hennemann

/ / ISSUE 29



tribe made of organs
loads of lifework-tools
the cutters are the philosophers of the soma
they only worship the one
appearing Aphrodite
unanswered love, they look her in the mouth
my woe is my jewellery
my promise
the anatomists stroke her
arms and hands
thigh and foot
they feel and tap
look her between fingers
and toes and count anomalies
malformed sounds
ancestry is checked
and accent, the symmetry
of an anaphase
when the cell divides
and the nucleus beams: a double star.
Volatility is chided
this part does not match the other
it burns and pulls
they plot
crack cell-codes
experienced hackers of lust
thieves of intimacy
they seek life with the scalpel and triumph
at every exam
and still know nothing about themselves
about beauty and love
structure assists function
in the body anarchy prevails
on the last day
the absence of rule between the marble tables
who sews the limbs back together
which sentence matches the other
sequences, series, passages
even Christ went on a Harrowing of Hell
the hall is cleaned with ultraviolet light
the student is ashamed
the sublime and the sick too close together
but the professor says
you have passed



The show always begins on time, the sun is shining through the fins of the roller shutter, today there are eight gaps, yesterday there were twelve and today he wants to sleep in later, but in five minutes the lions on the telly will roar, the hunted suddenly turn around and take a swing, I have to see that, cut to the applauding monkeys, then a man with a gun will come to aid and hunt the hunting, opening credits, lots of names, also for lions and chimpanzees, for parrots and tarantulas, it’s still a long way to the power switch, hundreds of shingles creaking parquet, and then I turn off the sound, to be on the safe side, so that the roaring doesn’t reach the bedroom, one can only see it then, and the rustling of the trees,

I slowly turn around, one leg is already on the edge of the bed, a lamb is waiting down below, and the blanket above me, eight kilograms of wool divided into two point five by two point five, for two people, it smells of cage and the sweat of the keepers, pets smell different, they are predictable, with tame mitochondria and transparent cell walls, bred for fidelity and submission, for procreation, giving birth, raising, slaughtering and still no peep, no oh-alas, just march to bed, eyes closed and press on, last night as well, with the hope of tomorrow and the prospect of a world in black and white, eyes closed and through the middle of the night, guzzling the night, the darkness, moving only when he moves,

waiting until he falls asleep, then slowly crawling out from under the blanket, on hands and feet around the bed, turning down the volume on his radio, mixing night into the wavelengths, muting the chirp of space, with a canon, inhale-exhale, women’s voices and men’s voices and always the same, at this time it’s always war, always uprising and rebellion and punishment with death, turn the volume down, then switch off, wait, until the click drowns in his cough, and then back, the same way, on the same parquet shingles, the solid and quiet ones, now it’s quiet, like in space, when all the life-sustaining devices fail at the failure of the power generator, and now back to the edge of the bed, hated spaceship, because I have to share it, and don’t slide in his direction, in the deep ditch where he’s sleeping and sweating and sometimes mumbles and talks, turn-the-radio-on-again, I-want-to-listen-to-the-three-o’clock-news, and falls back into the moor of dreams, radio antennas growing tall and making the darkness’s blood surge, wet pillows and rough sheets, last night prisoners were exchanged, with hissing and humming, it was too warm under the blanket, but it happened fast, in strictest secrecy, it’s peeping and whistling, the lamb on the edge of the bed lifts its head and searches in vain for its mother’s teats, then it sinks into the hay and sleeps, quick on a sleep-journey, riding brain waves,

there is a lot of green in black and white, happiness is brushing against the edge of the jungle and kills a gazelle, flesh and blood live and die at the same time, painless cut, cut to the next scene, everything is for the good in life, even the cage bars, because one can shake them, screeching, howling, the smile of the captured chimpanzees is a grimace, who is mirroring whom here, nothing is primitive, everything is as it is, legitimate, not legitimate, like the faces of the hunters in the makeup room, before shooting begins, the chimpanzee knows what a cage is, when she frees the parrots, a huge strike, little head and wings, freedom and the great guzzling are awaiting you, being eaten mostly, don’t-be-afraid and so-what, that’s life, God only gives what one can carry, the cage is small because one seemingly doesn’t need that much, of space and freedom, the thoughts are content with just their own mind, 

how many years have to pass until the roller shutter crumbles into dust, it is more powerful than light, and only when he says, now-you-can-get-up, does the night come to an end, and he speaks again, stay-put, I-want-to-sleep-in, don’t-make-a-noise, he rules day and night and three quarters of the bed surface,

I flee to my quarter at the edge of the bed and sleep without a pillow, it’s lying between us, my right foot is already out, the left follows and then a slight rotation of the axis to the right, until the big toe touches the lambskin, the springs remain silent, no quick movements and oh, were I amongst my own kind, in the black-and-white-forest, in the good-and-evil-world, in the world-of-justice, where the script presents death and every knuckle and cartilage of a striped, dotted, rainbow-colored enemy, and I rise up, towards the light, spread my wings, float over the parquet and touch down quietly, at the door, open and close it behind me, and then only the switching on, Sundays, always at ten past nine —

Christina Hennemann is a poet, writer and translator based in Ireland. She’s the author of the poetry chapbooks “Illuminations at Nightfall” (Sunday Mornings at the River, 2022) and “Witch / Womb” (BookHub Publishing, 2024). She’s a recipient of the Irish Arts Council’s Agility Award and the winner of the Luain Press Prize. She was commended in the Stephen Spender Prize, shortlisted in the Anthology Poetry Award and longlisted in the National Poetry Competition. Her work appears in Poetry Ireland, Poetry Wales, Anthropocene, Moria, Fieldnotes, Two Lines Press, and elsewhere.



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TWO POEMS by Dana Ranga, trans. Christina Hennemann

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