Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Laura Jane Lee

THE DAYS OF THE DOG

DE DAGEN VAN DE HOND

dat waren de dagen dat de hond
de baas was, allemaal Cerberus, en er waren
altijd honden de baas, voegden sneeuw na
sneeuw toe aan de eeuwige nacht, zonder
te verstikken tot zwaar, zodat de dagen
nooit eindigden, zodat ik altijd wakker werd
op hetzelfde tijdstip morgen, want er waren
soundtracks om nog op te sterven, totdat februari
totdat april de duizeligste ooit gemeten werd
en de hoogste zuiveringsgraad die het lichaam
had verdragen sinds de dag dat jij knettergek werd.
en toch, je kreeg koorts van opgesloten zijn in schaars
zonlicht, en je probeerde je ontkoppelde mond
open te breken om de laatste beetjes
voedsel eruit te krijgen, en nog steeds dacht je
dat je voor altijd verliefd op hem zou blijven, en
dat hij het niet alleen verdiende vergeven te worden
maar ook om teder gekoesterd te worden en toegestaan
volledig over je heen te lopen. 

dit waren de luchtstreken waarin badkamer
tegels werden verwarmd, ondergehuild en geboend
met rauwe handen, zodat je in vrede kon gaan
slapen in je blauwe doodskist-bed;
zittend aan het laboratoriumraam
kijkend naar de regen, grijs tot in het water, de
plek waarop je besloot dat, biologisch
gesproken, als je stopte met eten, je helemaal
honger zou worden, en er zouden
geen geesten zijn dus zou je jezelf omwille van je welzijn
opsluiten in een bibliotheek, slapen op
prikkende wachtkamerstoelen opengeklapt met vingers,
jezelf volledig leeg maken in een
warm verlicht wc-hokje, zo zoutig en
bloedig als liefde, als rouw, want dit waren
de dagen dat je hart niet anders kon dan stoppen,
dit waren de dagen van de hond —
de dagen die nooit erger konden worden dan,
en toch altijd zullen zijn.

THE DAYS OF THE DOG

those were the days that the dog was in
charge, Cerberus all, and there were
always dogs in charge, added snow after
snow to perennial night, with no
smothering until heavy, so that the days
never ended, so i always woke up the
same time tomorrow, as there were
soundtracks yet to die to, until February
till April became the dizziest on record,
and the highest purge rate the body had
borne since the day you went stir crazy.
and still, you got cabin fever with poor
sunlight, and you tried to pry open your
unplugged mouth to get the last bits of
food out, and still thought you would be
in love with him always, and that he
deserved not only to be forgiven but to be
cherished tenderly and let walk all
over you.

those were the climes in which bathroom
tiles were heated, cried on, and scrubbed
with raw hands, so that you could go to
sleep in peace in your blue coffin-bed;
sitting by the laboratory window
watching it rain, grey onto the water, the
spot you decided that biologically
speaking, if you stopped eating, all of you
would become hunger, and there would
be no ghosts so you may for sanity’s sake
lock yourself in a library, sleep on
scratchy hall seats unfolded with fingers,
emptying yourself completely in a
warm-lit bathroom stall, as salty and
bloody as love, as grief, for those were the
days your heart had no choice but to stop,
those were the days of the dog —
which days could never be worse than,
and will always be.

Close

THE DAYS OF THE DOG

those were the days that the dog was in
charge, Cerberus all, and there were
always dogs in charge, added snow after
snow to perennial night, with no
smothering until heavy, so that the days
never ended, so i always woke up the
same time tomorrow, as there were
soundtracks yet to die to, until February
till April became the dizziest on record,
and the highest purge rate the body had
borne since the day you went stir crazy.
and still, you got cabin fever with poor
sunlight, and you tried to pry open your
unplugged mouth to get the last bits of
food out, and still thought you would be
in love with him always, and that he
deserved not only to be forgiven but to be
cherished tenderly and let walk all
over you.

those were the climes in which bathroom
tiles were heated, cried on, and scrubbed
with raw hands, so that you could go to
sleep in peace in your blue coffin-bed;
sitting by the laboratory window
watching it rain, grey onto the water, the
spot you decided that biologically
speaking, if you stopped eating, all of you
would become hunger, and there would
be no ghosts so you may for sanity’s sake
lock yourself in a library, sleep on
scratchy hall seats unfolded with fingers,
emptying yourself completely in a
warm-lit bathroom stall, as salty and
bloody as love, as grief, for those were the
days your heart had no choice but to stop,
those were the days of the dog —
which days could never be worse than,
and will always be.

THE DAYS OF THE DOG

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