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TsvetankaElenkova SixPoems TranslatedbyJonathanDunne
TsvetankaElenkovawas borninSofia, Bulgaria, in1968and educatedat the RussianHighSchool andthe Universityof National and World Economics. After a short stint in her opera-singer father’s footsteps, sheturnedtoher great loveof literature. She co-foundedAh, Maria, the first independent literarymagazineinBulgariaafterthefallof Communismand has proceededto publishthree poetry collections, the most recent of which, The Seventh Gesture (2005), is due to be publishedinJonathanDunne’stranslationbyShoestringPress in2008. Herworkhasappeared inthe sadlydisappearedOrient Express (UK) andinAbsinthe (US), andhasbeentranslatedina total ofthirteen countries,fromArgentinaandChiletoTurkey and Ukraine. She translates fromEnglish and Greek into Bulgarian, includingthe anthology of Indianmystic poetry Speaking of SivaandJonathanDunne’s selectionof Raymond Carver’s poetry Luck. She co-edits the Bulgarian publisher Balkani’sseriesof ModernEnglishPoetry. Elenkova / Dunne
The Wounds of Freedom
Some buy leather leads for dogs of a definite length. Others prefer automatic leads with a reel. You let the dog run at will but you decide when to retrieve it. I set mine free. But two or three times it ran away and came back covered in wounds, so now I set it free but only in my yard. My dog howls at the squirrels, in the evening at the moon. And when we pile firewood next to the fence it climbs up and jumps over it. And again comes back with wounds. After that I decided to keep it on a chain. For my dog to be free of wounds.
With Wings and Teeth
Where is the difference? Is it in the lack of plumage or of teeth? Only people, I think, are born without teeth and all their life hope for wings. Demons and angels must have created them. Some lose their teeth, others only have teeth left. If you’re a treasure-hunter, you’ll understand. But I never found anyone with wings. Only with shards, which tormented my grandmother and bent her double – dung-beetle. When we buried her with two lilies of the valley, when a grassblade welled up from the sprinkling, I saw them. Growing transparent.
Orpheus and Eurydice
Of all who lied to me, I believed all, but you most. Who lied to me the most. That part in hide-and-seek, when you pretend not to see your little friend, your child. It’s the same when you let someone start or slip him a card. Then you shake his hand and kiss him on the right (or left) cheek. You – out of love for him. He – out of love for the game. In a similar situation Orpheus turned round and also didn’t spy Eurydice. Didn’t spy her. But she receded. They say, by the will of the gods.