Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Ellen Deckwitz

ABOUT ARNO’S MOTHER’S LUNGS

One morning you get a phone call and your feet
barely give you time to pull your boots on before
you’re out the door and it’s snowing out there and it’s so bitter out there
that your fingertips are battered by the cold
You think about Arno’s mother, how they found something
they’d rather not have, the X-ray filled with the swirls of smoke that linger in the air
after you’ve set off a firework. You keep walking, thinking about your parents and your friends
and your friends’ parents. How, in the past few years, more and more
of them have been mowed down, you too have reached an age
when you find it harder and harder to resign yourself to sleep, you’re more and more disgusted
by your feet, how nimbly they move over the earth. They found something
in Arno’s mother’s lungs and the last time you hugged your father you felt
how loose his skin was, how his spirit was shrinking by the day. Those were weeks
when every phone call changed the ground beneath your feet
into an ice floe on the verge of tipping, your father’s eyes
were like a dark pond that last time, frozen fish hanging suspended.
They found something in Arno’s mother and you walk in the freezing cold
out to the middle of the snow-covered lake, they found something
in Arno’s mother, out in the middle of the lake the wind is blowing
a black window, you walk out onto the ice, they found something,
the air is burning in your lungs and you pull up your collar, remembering the good old days,
when everything still turned out okay, when you still thought that was a basic right.

OVER DE LONGEN VAN ARNO’S MOEDER

OVER DE LONGEN VAN ARNO’S MOEDER

Op een ochtend word je gebeld en krijg je van je voeten
amper de tijd om nog laarzen aan te trekken of hup daar
ga je al de deur uit en het sneeuwt daar en het vriest daar
zo hard dat je vingertoppen de klappen van de kou opvangen
Je denkt aan Arno’s moeder, dat ze iets hebben gevonden
wat ze liever niet waren tegen gekomen, de röntgenfoto
was gevuld met het rookpatroon dat na de knal van een vuurpijl
in de lucht hangt. Je loopt door en denkt aan je ouders en je vrienden
en aan de ouders van je vrienden. Dat er de laatste jaren steeds meer
worden weggemaaid, ook jij hebt een leeftijd bereikt
waarbij je je steeds moeilijker neerlegt bij slaap, steeds meer walg je
over je voeten, hoe soepel ze over de aarde heengaan. Ze vonden iets
bij Arno’s moeder en toen je je vader de laatste keer omhelsde voelde je
hoe los zijn vel zat, zijn geest met de dag afnam. Het waren weken
waarbij met ieder telefoontje de grond onder je voeten veranderde
in een ijsschots die op het punt van kantelen stond, je vaders ogen
leken de laatste keer een donkere vijver, er hingen bevroren vissen in.
Ze hebben iets gevonden in Arno’s moeder en je loopt door de vrieskou
naar het midden van het ondergesneeuwde meer, ze hebben iets gevonden
in Arno’s moeder, in het midden van het meer blaast de wind
een zwart venster, je loopt het ijs op, ze vonden iets, de lucht brandt
in je longen en je trekt je kraag hoger op, denkt terug aan vroeger,
toen alles nog goed kwam, toen je echt nog dacht dat dat een recht was.

Close

ABOUT ARNO’S MOTHER’S LUNGS

One morning you get a phone call and your feet
barely give you time to pull your boots on before
you’re out the door and it’s snowing out there and it’s so bitter out there
that your fingertips are battered by the cold
You think about Arno’s mother, how they found something
they’d rather not have, the X-ray filled with the swirls of smoke that linger in the air
after you’ve set off a firework. You keep walking, thinking about your parents and your friends
and your friends’ parents. How, in the past few years, more and more
of them have been mowed down, you too have reached an age
when you find it harder and harder to resign yourself to sleep, you’re more and more disgusted
by your feet, how nimbly they move over the earth. They found something
in Arno’s mother’s lungs and the last time you hugged your father you felt
how loose his skin was, how his spirit was shrinking by the day. Those were weeks
when every phone call changed the ground beneath your feet
into an ice floe on the verge of tipping, your father’s eyes
were like a dark pond that last time, frozen fish hanging suspended.
They found something in Arno’s mother and you walk in the freezing cold
out to the middle of the snow-covered lake, they found something
in Arno’s mother, out in the middle of the lake the wind is blowing
a black window, you walk out onto the ice, they found something,
the air is burning in your lungs and you pull up your collar, remembering the good old days,
when everything still turned out okay, when you still thought that was a basic right.

ABOUT ARNO’S MOTHER’S LUNGS

One morning you get a phone call and your feet
barely give you time to pull your boots on before
you’re out the door and it’s snowing out there and it’s so bitter out there
that your fingertips are battered by the cold
You think about Arno’s mother, how they found something
they’d rather not have, the X-ray filled with the swirls of smoke that linger in the air
after you’ve set off a firework. You keep walking, thinking about your parents and your friends
and your friends’ parents. How, in the past few years, more and more
of them have been mowed down, you too have reached an age
when you find it harder and harder to resign yourself to sleep, you’re more and more disgusted
by your feet, how nimbly they move over the earth. They found something
in Arno’s mother’s lungs and the last time you hugged your father you felt
how loose his skin was, how his spirit was shrinking by the day. Those were weeks
when every phone call changed the ground beneath your feet
into an ice floe on the verge of tipping, your father’s eyes
were like a dark pond that last time, frozen fish hanging suspended.
They found something in Arno’s mother and you walk in the freezing cold
out to the middle of the snow-covered lake, they found something
in Arno’s mother, out in the middle of the lake the wind is blowing
a black window, you walk out onto the ice, they found something,
the air is burning in your lungs and you pull up your collar, remembering the good old days,
when everything still turned out okay, when you still thought that was a basic right.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère