Translated from Macedonian by Ljubica Arsovska, and Patricia Marsh
Ingrid Jonker writes to Olivera Korveziroska
A bullet in the head would do you good,
a jump off a bridge or a cut wrist,
hydrochloric acid in your tea, your husband’s belt round your neck,
at the wrong time, in the wrong place
death is an awakening, a volcano, an earthquake,
you want to die, but not like all the others.
And in the nursery a little girl is sleeping,
the one you bore in your womb.
A daughter with a mother who has killed herself
is not a daughter without a mother but without a self.
All her life she will dive deeper than she can,
search, wander, dream, ask
and beat her head
against your picture. She’ll miss you,
she’ll love you, but she won’t be able not to hate you.
Now she can. While you’re alive. While she’s a child.
Your palms on her cheeks,
and hers on yours. Intertwining.
She’ll remember your life
which you want to forget.
When the stairs creak
she’ll know the past is climbing up to her.
She’ll have her own room. But what does she want it for?
She needs her own home for her own room,
and with a suicide for a mother no place is home any more.
She’ll be left in the lurch. No epiphany will happen.
Your mother kept telling you all your life:
“You’ll see your Maker!”
A threat or a promise of bliss?
To you, both the one and the other.
To her, her legacy.
Lidija Dimkovska (b.1971, Skopje, Macedonia) has published six books of poetry, three novels, one American diary and one short story collection awarded and translated in more than 20 languages. Her first collection of poetry English Do Not Awaken Them with Hammers was published by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2006. Her second collection pH Neutral History (short-listed for the Best Translated Book Award 2013) was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2012, and in 2016 Two Lines Press published her novel A Spare Life (long-listed for the Best Translated Book Award 2017).
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.