Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Ellen Deckwitz

THE GRANDFATHER I DIDN’T HAVE

My grandfather gives me a tour
of his urn, hangs up my coat
next to the family portrait and the rifle
as his back straightens itself.
The liver spots leach and lose their hue.

We change time into a squashed fly
on a newly-washed window.

He pulls me onto his lap, talking
about our kind. The Hades in our veins
that rages everything clean. The hole between
his eyes that swells with ink
and then closes. I curl up against him.
He nods, not believing
that in my ballpoint pen
there’s a bullet too.

DE GROOTVADER DIE IK NIET HAD

DE GROOTVADER DIE IK NIET HAD

Mijn grootvader leidt me rond
in zijn urn, hangt mijn jas op
bij het familieportret en het geweer
terwijl zijn rug zich recht.
De levervlekken lopen leeg.

We veranderen tijd
in een platgeslagen vlieg
op een pasgewassen raam.

Hij neemt me op schoot, vertelt
over onze soort. De Hades in de aderen
die alles schoonwoedt. Het gat tussen
zijn ogen dat zich vol met inkt zuigt
en dat zich sluit. Ik kruip tegen hem aan.
Hij knikt, gelooft niet
dat er in mijn ballpoint
ook een kogel zit.


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THE GRANDFATHER I DIDN’T HAVE

My grandfather gives me a tour
of his urn, hangs up my coat
next to the family portrait and the rifle
as his back straightens itself.
The liver spots leach and lose their hue.

We change time into a squashed fly
on a newly-washed window.

He pulls me onto his lap, talking
about our kind. The Hades in our veins
that rages everything clean. The hole between
his eyes that swells with ink
and then closes. I curl up against him.
He nods, not believing
that in my ballpoint pen
there’s a bullet too.

THE GRANDFATHER I DIDN’T HAVE

My grandfather gives me a tour
of his urn, hangs up my coat
next to the family portrait and the rifle
as his back straightens itself.
The liver spots leach and lose their hue.

We change time into a squashed fly
on a newly-washed window.

He pulls me onto his lap, talking
about our kind. The Hades in our veins
that rages everything clean. The hole between
his eyes that swells with ink
and then closes. I curl up against him.
He nods, not believing
that in my ballpoint pen
there’s a bullet too.
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