14 (from New Banalities) by Brane Mozetic translated by Tamara Soban

look, my hands are bloody, there’s blood all over,
trickling down the TV screen over the scenes. It
takes a lot for a life to go out. Shall I open a
window, we’ll choke, this nauseating stench of
blood. These open wounds, the vein pulsing and
the red liquid dripping on my skin. I put you in
the water and washed you as you gazed into each
others’ eyes. Murderous eyes. Did they recognize
themselves? How to fall asleep when someone’s
leaving, hoping he would turn around. Straining
to hear if he’s still breathing. Trembling. I didn’t
know saving a life was much harder than taking
one. One after another, the people around me
opted for the easy way. The boy who splashed
about so innocently in the water later chopped up
a body and filled several bags with it, carrying the
head around with him, only to put the pieces
back together in the end. Whole liters of blood,
my boy, every day, flowing away, flowing away.
It’s hard to wash away all this blood, clothes must
be soaked in cold water, hopefully no stains will
remain. On the shoes, on the skin. I look at your
wound, open flesh, as though your life has burst.
Brane Mozetič is a noted Slovenian poet, writer, translator, editor and activist. In English translations were published his poetry books Butterflies and Banalities, a collection of short stories Passion and a novel Lost Story.