Half an hour I’ve been standing in the shower
and can’t wash off this haunting dream
pursuing me for years,
in which you abandon me
at the farmer’s market
in a southern city.
The tides of blood discard
sand and dead jellyfish in my eyes
and I can’t see how you walk away
carrying someone else’s joy
leaning on your shoulder.
April opens its balconies,
yet the cat in me does not wake up
for the fifth straight month:
hot tin roofs,
sunny tiled roofs
are scenes from another season.
I dig a furrow under the fig,
squeeze in my palm
and I talk to them in a strange dialect,
but the rain doesn’t come
and you won’t understand anyway
how you need to love me.
Over my head a cloud hangs
like a promise.
Author: Aksinia Mihaylova
Translator: Katerina Stoykova
from the anthology Season of Delicate Hunger (ed. Katerina Stoykova), Accents Publishing 2014
Aksinia Mihaylova is a Bulgarian translator, editor and poet. She was born in northwest Bulgaria and was educated at the French Lyceum in Vratsa, at the State Institute of Library Studies in Sofia and at the Slavic philology department of Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. She worked for two years at the regional library in Shumen. In 1990, she helped found the first independent literary journal in Bulgaria Ah, Maria and continued on as part of its editorial team. From 1994 to 1998, she worked for the Paradox publishing house. She is living in Sofia. Aksinia Mihaylova has translated more than 30 books into Bulgarian, both poetry and prose, by authors such as Georges Bataille, Jean Genet, Venus Khoury-Ghata, Sylvie Germain and Alexis Jenni; she has also published anthologies of Lithuanian and Latvian poetry. She has published seven books of her own poems in Bulgarian and her poems have been published in translation in 13 European languages, as well as in Turkish, Arabic, Chinese and Japanese. Her book Ciel à Perdre, written in French, received the Prix Guillaume Apollinaire in 2014. She is a member of the Bulgarian chapter of PEN International, of the Association of Bulgarian writers and of the Union of Bulgarian translators.
Katerina Stoykova is the author of poetry books in English and Bulgarian, most recently Second Skin (ICU, 2018, Bulgarian) and the bilingual Bird on a Window Sill (Signs, 2017, English and Bulgarian). The Bulgarian edition of How God Punishes was published by ICU in 2014 and won the Ivan Nikolov National Poetry Prize. Katerina is the editor and the main translator of The Season of Delicate Hunger: Anthology of Contemporary Bulgarian Poetry (Accents Publishing, 2014). For six years she hosted the literary radio show Accents on WRFL 88.1FM. In 2010, Katerina launched the independent literary press Accents Publishing. Katerina co-wrote the independent feature film Proud Citizen, directed by Thom Southerland, and acted in the lead role.
Photo credit: kultura.bg; Katerina Stoykova
This blog post is part of #BulgarianLiteratureMonth.