Uljana Wolf

Translated by Sophie Seita

dust bunnies vs wool mice

we wanted to speak about little animals, to get on our knees for the little beasts, those made of dust and gooey fuzzle, in floorboards and cracks, shivering in grey coats, our animals made of thin air. we wanted to whisper very closely in your language and inside mine, tell me darling, did you vacuum today. no, we didn’t wish to alarm our creatures, little like spots, are they spots, don’t they have pompom tails, bunny ears, or bunny tails, tom-tom ears, didn’t we want to smoke less, cough less, be less either or. yesterday the room’s nook was lonely in its dreary croak. today it’s a hoard, for tender hordes, un pont, we want, so let’s be quiet, let’s eavesdrop on our knees: our little creatures, how they swap their fluffy, moon-grey names.

‘can you show me on se mappe’

we wanted to lean over this phrase like a charted city, to make a point, create a mouthspace, myth of hear or say: hier, in this net of tongues, one path was well-sprung, a mistake, mystique. lingua franca stuck on our foreheads, almost touching and already legend: you are here, ich bin wer, a game of routes, but whatever we said the words did not arrive. instead the red lines snapped, rolling back into their very own names: murmuring with the greek one, chartis, carta with the italian, and karte with me, meaning my card: looks like we’re here. almost true freunde. and so we found, with the wrong sign, our site, and the rest of the city we folded, in the manner of this country, as they say, into maps.

Originally published in the poetry collection “falsche freunde”, kookbooks Berlin 2009

Sophie Seita

Sophie Seita‘s published works include MEAT (Little Red Leaves, 2015), FANTASIAS IN COUNTING (BlazeVOX, 2014), 12 STEPS (Wide Range, 2012), and I MEAN I DISLIKE THAT FATE THAT I WAS MADE TO WHERE, a translation of the German poet Uljana Wolf (Wonder, 2015). She has received fellowships and awards from Yale, Princeton, Buffalo, Cambridge, Columbia, QMUL, DAAD, and Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes, among others, for her academic work, and is the recipient of the second Wonder Book Prize (2014, with Uljana Wolf), and a PEN/Heim award (2015) for her forthcoming full-length translation of SUBSISTERS: SELECTED POEMS by Uljana Wolf (Belladonna, 2017). She’s currently editing a centenary reprint of the little magazine THE BLIND MAN for Ugly Duckling Presse (2017). From October 2016, she will be a Junior Research Fellow in English Literature at Queens’ College, Cambridge.