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from the September 2016 issue

Three Poems from “Tattoos”

Tre poesie da “Tattoos”

German–born Eva Taylor considers the process of inhabiting a new land and a new language.


pierced fabric
empty of flesh
covered with scales
breath of skin
not mouth

i wanted to exhale
another me
make an A from an E
without a rib
only a needle
of letters

pull out this thread of loss                                      
the line that leaves no trace
unloose the old pages
the white spaces                  

thread yourself in
resew me
on the next page



on the atlas of my skin
your names
I sense them, sing them
in the first language and the second
lost luggage that spins
on the axis
of the first shoulder and the second
and all the past
in a single point



A scale of your skin                                                              
at the end of the hall                                                           
there where the sea dies out                                                          
and no one waits to ferry

Maybe you already left, maybe you never came              
the sea brings no news of you or others
only Flaschenpost, bottled language                      
at dinner, lunch                                                                    
at breakfast.                                                                                                             

Words flowing freely,
words with their skin turned inside out
all taste of corked wine, of translation.


From the section “Tattoos” in Volti di parole. © 2010 Eva Taylor. By arrangement with the author. Translation © Olivia Sears. All rights reserved.

Tre poesie da “Tattoos”


la stoffa perforata
vuota di carne
coperta di squame
respiro di pelle
non di bocca

ho voluto espirare
un'altra me
fare una A da una E
senza costola
solo coll'ago
delle lettere

sfila questo filo di smarrimento
la linea senza tracce
sciogli le carte antiche
gli spazi bianchi

sulla prossima pagina



sull'atlante della mia pelle
i vostri nomi
li sento, li canto
con la prima e la seconda lingua
valigie perse che girano
della prima e della seconda spalla
e tutto il passato
in un unico punto



Una squama della tua pelle
in fondo al corridoio
là dove il mare finisce
e nessuno a traghettare

Sarai andato via, sarai mai arrivato
il mare non porta notizie di te o di altri
solo Flaschenpost lingua imbottigliata
a cena, pranzo
a colazione.

Parole sciolte,
parole con la pelle rovesciata
e tutto sa di tappo, di traduzione.

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