“In the Morning” and “The Murderer’s Hair”

translated from the Slovenian by Brian Henry

In the Morning

Infidels measure their prey by the length 
of an oar. In every sea there’s some  
angel in a sunken bell.  
One day the Pacific Ocean will vanish. 
We’re making a new Pacific Ocean. 
It’s an enormous task. 
The heat is severe. 
The weight of all this water quenches  
a bit, but not enough. One 
must use symbolism for the launching  
of ships. 
This pleases the meek. 
Tomcat, kittycat, prey, shoo. 
All my life I’ve been counting tiger teeth.

The Murderer’s Hair

A snake appeared and said: the cut
in your mouth is too deep,  

I’ll stitch it for you. The snake is a flower. The snake  
isn’t ash. If you want to kill people,  

you must break worms first. A worm  
must be hard so that you can break it  

like a woody piece of asparagus. The snake  
wasn’t content with this. It dried its  

shutters. Chet Baker spits on the floor, then  
dies. In the dark wagon, no one noticed  

him, we transported gold. Damp and frayed  
rags made of jute were on the white heads.  

Matryoshka, give me the Siberian  
spirit, give me the Siberian flavor.

Photo by Amir Sani on Unsplash