Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Sasja Janssen

THE BALLAD OF THE HOME HELP 1

I close the curtains like a body bag, swipe the slender
cigarette tubes off the bed, cut-flower green the covers
that spark up easily, it has to be done at once. 

It has to be done, the slowness, my childish hand between her
legs and I laugh along with her because it’s worse for me,
I’ve been hired to help, I won’t be dead in a day or two. 

In the afternoon she gets me back when the tubes
come flowing out of me and I see to the man whose daughters
emerge from the sea because he is dying. 

Again them lamenting their mother who shares her bed
with others, the sisters married to strangers,
I hide in the hall with the hoover. 

And the dark one cries on the hot balcony, while the light one
opens the door for the keysneyder who frees me first.

BALLADE VAN DE ALFAHULP 1

BALLADE VAN DE ALFAHULP 1

Ik trek de gordijnen dicht als een lijkzak, de tengere
sigarettenhulzen van het bed, snijbloemgroen de deken
die makkelijk vuurt, het moet meteen.

Het moet, de traagheid, mijn kinderhand tussen haar
benen en ik lach met haar mee, want voor mij is het erger
ik ben ingehuurd, niet ik ga over twee dagen dood.

In de middag pakt ze me terug wanneer de hulzen
uit me blijven vloeien en ik de man doe van wie de dochters
uit de oceaan komen omdat hij crepeert.

Weer dat gelamenteer om hun moeder die het bed
met anderen houdt, de zusjes getrouwd met vreemdelingen
ik schuil in de hal met de stofzuiger.

En de donkere huilt op het hete balkon, terwijl de lichte
de deur opent voor de keisnijder, die mij eerst bevrijdt.

Close

THE BALLAD OF THE HOME HELP 1

I close the curtains like a body bag, swipe the slender
cigarette tubes off the bed, cut-flower green the covers
that spark up easily, it has to be done at once. 

It has to be done, the slowness, my childish hand between her
legs and I laugh along with her because it’s worse for me,
I’ve been hired to help, I won’t be dead in a day or two. 

In the afternoon she gets me back when the tubes
come flowing out of me and I see to the man whose daughters
emerge from the sea because he is dying. 

Again them lamenting their mother who shares her bed
with others, the sisters married to strangers,
I hide in the hall with the hoover. 

And the dark one cries on the hot balcony, while the light one
opens the door for the keysneyder who frees me first.

THE BALLAD OF THE HOME HELP 1

I close the curtains like a body bag, swipe the slender
cigarette tubes off the bed, cut-flower green the covers
that spark up easily, it has to be done at once. 

It has to be done, the slowness, my childish hand between her
legs and I laugh along with her because it’s worse for me,
I’ve been hired to help, I won’t be dead in a day or two. 

In the afternoon she gets me back when the tubes
come flowing out of me and I see to the man whose daughters
emerge from the sea because he is dying. 

Again them lamenting their mother who shares her bed
with others, the sisters married to strangers,
I hide in the hall with the hoover. 

And the dark one cries on the hot balcony, while the light one
opens the door for the keysneyder who frees me first.

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