I find translation fascinating because of the way it allows writers engage with other writers’ work and, by extension, opens up so much room for the slippage and transformation of meaning for readers as well. There’s all these undercurrents and endless planes of engagement that allow us to connect to work we might not have had the opportunity to encounter. Admiration for translation/translators aside, I think these poems are beautiful, mysterious, and delicate! -Sammi Bryan, BWR 2017/18 poetry editor
from A Hundred Thousand Hours
from BWR 37.2
En ørret ut av vannet. En fangst på fire kilo. Et bytte.
Og fisken spreller i bøtta. En datter. En datter. Jeg er
Jeg limer barnet fast til kroppen. Hun er en ekstra
arm. Hun er et ekstra bryst. Og jeg puster
gjennom henne. Jeg smiler med hennes munn.
Akkurat sМ stor er verden som avstanden mellom
hennes panne og min munn.
I søndagsmiddagens bedøvelse ser jeg datteren min
svømme ut gjennom vinduet. En gullfisk ut av
hendene mine. Og under bordet vrir teppet seg
—Hvor er datteren min, spør jeg gatelyktene. —Hvor
er datteren min, spør jeg kiosken på hjørnet. —Hvor
er datteren min, spør jeg de store tause trærne. Men
ingen har sett henne. Ikke engang benken på
Men veien kan fortelle meg om føttene hennes. De
røde sokkene. De hvite skoene. Det er veien som har
henne. Og veien vil ikke fortelle om hun kommer
A trout out of water. A catch of four pounds. An exchange.
And the fish flapping in the bucket. A daughter. A daughter. I am
I stitch my child onto my body. She is an extra
arm. She is an extra breast. And I breathe
through her. I smile with her mouth.
The world is only as big as the space between
her forehead and my mouth.
In Sunday afternoon’s anesthesia I see my daughter
swim out through the window. A goldfish out of
my hands. And under the table the carpet twists
—Where is my daughter, I ask the streetlights. —Where
is my daughter, I ask the corner store. —Where
is my daughter, I ask the tall, silent trees. But
no one has seen her. Not even the bench at
the bus stop.
But the road can tell me about her feet. The
red socks. The white shoes. It is the road that has
her. And the road will not tell if she is coming
translated from the Norwegian by Rebecca Wadlinger
Rebecca Wadlinger is a graduate of the Michener Center for Writers in Austin and the University of Houston’s Creative Writing PhD program. She is the translator of Gro Dahle‘s A Hundred Thousand Hours. Her poems have appeared in Best New Poets, Tin House, Ploughshares, and more.
Gro Dahle is a Norwegian poet and writer who has written over 30 books in different genres, including poetry, fiction, drama, and children’s books.