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from the February 2018 issue

“Forgetting” & “Home”


Listen to Arvis Viguls read his poem "Forgetting" in the original Latvian

The pawn shop, where we sold your rings,
was shuttered.
The silver spoons that you got for your baptism
have disappeared.

Oblivion smells like ammonia.
We scattered salt on the floor
and our memories
and poured chlorine—on our history.

We buried you so deep,
but you
still come to us in our dreams
and don’t say a word.


The key jiggles in the door.
The dinner table is splitting in half
like a sinking ship out of a film.
With Mom on one side, the other—Dad.

Each one holds on for dear life
to the plate in front of them.
No, that’s not a life preserver.

The chandelier glows in all its brilliance
between the room’s Scylla and Charybdis.

They have put on their best clothes,
leaving their life vests in the closet.
No one gets up from the table
until their plate is empty.

The telephone rings.
The Christmas tree decorations
have scattered on the floor.

A family—
they talk about everything else but that at the table
but then the glass balls break beneath their steps
and cut their feet
as they go toward one another—
right through the pain.

It’s the shortest path.

"Aizmiršana" and "Mājas" © Arvis Viguls. By arrangement with the author. Translations © 2018 by Jayde Will. All rights reserved.

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