Desert by Cevat Çapan

Whenever
I sit at a table
to write something to you
I think of the tightrope performers
of my childhood and
all of a sudden
the pen in my hand
gets longer and longer
like that balance-stick
and I soon
unlike that masterful tightrope performer
more like an inexperienced clown
fall down into the void
and start jumping
in the bouncing net of dreams
Then
with the laughter
of my invisible spectators
I try to crawl
in a dry sea of tears

translated by Zeynep Bağcı & Suat Karantay

When You Speak to Me by Tess Gallagher

Take care when you speak to me.
I might listen, I might
draw near as the flame
breathing with the log, breathing
with the tree it has not
forgotten. I might
put my face
next to
your face
in your nameless trouble,
in your trouble
and name.

It is a thing I learned
without learning; a hand
is a stronger mouth, a kiss could
crack the skull, small steps
in the air calling
the secret hands, the mouths
hidden in the flesh.

This isn’t robbery.
This isn’t your blood for my
tears, no confidence
in trade or barter. I may
say nothing back
which is to hear
after you the fever
inside the words we say
apart, the words we say so hard
they fall apart.