Bibliography
Inga Gaile // raudāt nedrīkst smieties [Cry Not Laugh],

-raudāt nedrīkst smieties [Cry Not Laugh], Riga: Rasa ABC (2004)

***

It is women’s time –
They direct the traffic of winds and streetcars,
Their plastic bags, full of pelmeni
And dogfood,
Turn into handbags embroidered by dew,
And every turn of their heads,
Like a knife sinking into meat,
Cuts some man’s vector.
It is women’s time –
Tresses fall slower than raindrops and eyes
Sing the night already at two post morn,
It is women’s time –
Barge haulers sport anemones
And soften the rattling of chains
With gentle and sparkling laughter.


* * *

When you paint a cage
and wait for the bird,
when you guess the bird’s song,
when the bird sings,
when the sky blooms like a peacock,
and stars shine in clusters,
then it’s the moment before awakening,
the moment before taking wing,
moment before the moment
when you’ll open the door of the cage
that has never been closed.


***

My girlfriends know love, but I know joy.
Joy over painfully melting blue snowflakes on my lips,
Over the dance sun paints on my face –
no matter, no matter,
My girlfriends know love, but I know joy,
Loud and sparkling in my cupped hands,
That blossoms in the roses of blush
and in shame before the first morning streetcar.
Joy over my tears reflected in streetlamps,
joy over the silence in temples and the loud beating heart
in the sad eyes of a dog, the momentary blooms in your breath,
My girlfriends know love, but I know joy
Joy as if learning to waltz with child’s timidness and abandon
water fire air
joy like breathing and shouting – children are not born of joy
My children will be born of joy


* * *

look how the fan spreads open,
night enters our house on heavy black legs
giving out tangerine wedges.
somewhere in town there’s blizzard and boys with huge eyes
and firecracker-filled pockets
dream the earth full of streets
where sunrays and moonrays can meet.
star bundles tied up with string
are somewhere sold for spring.
look how the fan spreads open,
I learn from night to night,
how to fade into gentle darkness,
not lose my wick, do it right.
and I write like a diligent first-grader -
in bread, in bread and in milk,
hoping that day will emerge through the dream.
that light like a feisty girl will come
and shake up the pillows,
their down will fly upward
without any knowledge of snow.
but somewhere the city has eyes
ships, idling in harbors, snore.
and boys break ice on the shore
laughing to conjure the infinite.


* * *

Words do not matter.
Silence is our hero,
But I don’t trust him,
I always suspect him of hiding behind his back
an axe, a crowbar, a pair of scissors.
So I try to attack first, signal flares crackling,
fill the space up with words, hang little banners,
I sing, I dance, I laugh, I stumble, I skin my knees,
my face and hands, muddy my eyes and mouth,
the foxholes are far in the distance,
victory light years away,
So just a ceasefire – I sit, drink tea, twist one up,
my glance heavy as a woman’s who carries the world
in her chest.
Words do not matter, silence is our hero –
I brace myself, smile at him, whereas in fact I tremble with fear, pain,
Cold and hunger, and the day ends as usual – mud and weighed down
lips.
I wish I knew that silence is pregnant with rain and the opponent is
an awakened bird,
I wish my noises, the shrill of my bracelets would die down and
morning would come green with grass
swaying gently in the early rays. For silence is no hero,
silence is simply an ally.


Translated by Ieva Lešinska


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