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Poetry

“I don’t carry your picture in my purse”

Translated from Estonian

I don't carry your picture in my purse;
it burns anyway under my eyelids.
Every expression, gesture, intonation,
without my even wanting it, is etched—

most clearly, your back, when you left
that inexplicable May,
that cruel winter,
just as I directed—

into the dark, to the left.

Translation of “Ei kanna Su pilti käekotis.” Copyright Doris Kareva. Translation copyright 2007 by Tiina Aleman. All rights reserved.

Read Doris Kareva's “The reader casts his shadow over the poem”

English

I don't carry your picture in my purse;
it burns anyway under my eyelids.
Every expression, gesture, intonation,
without my even wanting it, is etched—

most clearly, your back, when you left
that inexplicable May,
that cruel winter,
just as I directed—

into the dark, to the left.

Translation of “Ei kanna Su pilti käekotis.” Copyright Doris Kareva. Translation copyright 2007 by Tiina Aleman. All rights reserved.

Read Doris Kareva's “The reader casts his shadow over the poem”