In the Dew, in the Mist by George Vulturescu translated by Adam Sorkin and Olimpia Iacob


The first drop of blood that I can recall
was not Ioan’s, when I knocked his head
against the rim of the well wrenching
the bone-handled knife from his hand


I can no longer recall the shepherd Andor’s blood.
With Alesia I found him in the ditch on the hill,
his throat gashed and ripped open by the dogs. His blood
had coagulated on his shirt – like droplets of mercury
it seemed to hesitate, not knowing where it might be more dangerous
to flow: on the limp flesh or in the dry dust.


But I will never forget the Resurrection Eve
at the village church when the priest pointed his hand
from the pulpit at all of us gathered together and accused us of having killed
Jesus with stones and thorns.
I who had pelted uncle Achim with clods, who with a club
had cracked the skull of a polecat come slinking out of the henhouse,
and crushed underfoot a nest of wren’s eggs
in the grass
          felt my hands become damp, then ice
and as though on its thin crust, my blood kept flowing.
I saw it gather at my feet, like a snake
that slithered down my clothes and crept toward the altar.
I clung to my father’s coat there on the church benches, shaken.
“I killed Him,” I murmured, “I killed Him...
“That’s what everyone does every day, do not be ashamed,” he whispered to me,
“His blood flows through us only in this way...”


I also saw blood, much later on,
in the corridors of the boarding school in Satu Mare,
when I read my mother’s letter: “Your father is dead,
crushed by the timber he cut in the Bârsău forests...”
I saw the blood take form as fine threads between
Mother’s lines, then gush forth from the paper
as from the stone of a spring, fill the corridor, reach
my fellow students’ ankles, coil around them.
“It’s blood, don’t step on it,” I cried out, “it’s blood...”
“Don’t be afraid,” I could hear Father,
“blood unites all of us like a convict’s chain:
‘Salve et coagula, salve et coagula...’



George Vulturescu has published more than a dozen poetry collections, among them The North and Beyond the North (2001), Monograms on the Stones of the North (2005), Other Poems from the North (2007), The Blind Man from the North (2009), and Gold and Ivy (2011—in which “The Angel at the Window” appeared). Adam J. Sorkin is a translator of contemporary Romanian literature. Sorkin’s translation of Marin Sorescu’s The Bridge (with Lidia Vianu) won the 2005 Poetry Society Corneliu M. Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation, and their version of lines poems poetry by Mircea Ivănescu was shortlisted in 2011. Olimpia Iacob is Associate Professor in Modern Languages at “Vasile Goldiș” West University of Arad, Romania. Her book-length translations include prose and poetry by Cassian Maria Spiridon, Gabriel Stănescu, Gheorghe Grigurcu, Petre Got, Mircea Petean, and Magdalena Dorina Suciu, as well as George Vulturescu.