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Deathbed Poem

Translated from Macedonian by Ljubica Arsovska and Patricia Marsh


What bed will I breathe my last on?
On some train, on some crossroads?
With the curtain up or down?
At noon or at dead of night?
Is it fate, a curse or good luck
to breathe your last in someone’s presence?
A part of the soul of the one to see me last alive
will depart together with mine.
With her dying breath my granny asked for a bite of pie,
my aunt bought herself the coat to be buried in,
which then hung on the hanger, tag on,
until they dressed her in it in death,
I will want half my grave to be there and half here.
The soul is breathed out in a moment of short circuit
when the fuses burn up, and you are alone at home,
you fumble in the dark
to the end of the hallway,
where by the front door you push them back in their sockets,
the light flashes on and mows down your soul
while reality, blinded,
doesn’t notice it, even though, behind your body,
it too wobbles towards its own hole.




Ljubica Arsovska is editor-in-chief of the long-established Skopje cultural magazine Kulturen Život and a distinguished literary translator from English into Macedonian, and vice versa. Her translations from English into Macedonian include books by Isaiah Berlin, Toni Morrison, Susan Sontag, and plays of Lope De Vega, Harold Pinter, and Tennessee Williams. Her translations from Macedonian into English include works by Lidija Dimkovska, Dejan Dukovski, Tomislav Osmanli, Ilija Petrushevski, Sotir Golabovski, among others.

Patricia Marsh is a writer of fiction and non-fiction, author of The Scribe of the Soul and The Enigma of the Margate Shell Grotto, and translator of a number of plays and poems from Macedonian into English. She lectured in English at the University of Skopje for a long period before returning to live and work in the UK in 1992.

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