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Poetry

Café Borges

Translated from Icelandic
Up and down the hill the dead pass, patting the café wall.

In Café Borges on Bankastræti
everyone has brown
eyes.

Here they once sold pantyhose–
says Simone–that forked like paths
in two, even three.

Yes–says Tiziano–lovers fought here
until someone laid a
sword
between them, naked.

Fires are burning.

In Café Borges on Bankastræti
everyone has stubble and a smile.
You have the widows and the widowers
who slurp soup spiced with Fáfnir’s-grass
and add in adages
with forks
that fork like pantyhose.
At a corner table a man in a turtleneck snores.

Up and down the hill the dead pass, patting the café wall.

I am married to the owner. We have four children.

© Sigurbjorg Þrastardottir. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2011 by T. Zachary Cotler. All rights reserved.

English Icelandic

In Café Borges on Bankastræti
everyone has brown
eyes.

Here they once sold pantyhose–
says Simone–that forked like paths
in two, even three.

Yes–says Tiziano–lovers fought here
until someone laid a
sword
between them, naked.

Fires are burning.

In Café Borges on Bankastræti
everyone has stubble and a smile.
You have the widows and the widowers
who slurp soup spiced with Fáfnir’s-grass
and add in adages
with forks
that fork like pantyhose.
At a corner table a man in a turtleneck snores.

Up and down the hill the dead pass, patting the café wall.

I am married to the owner. We have four children.

© Sigurbjorg Þrastardottir. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2011 by T. Zachary Cotler. All rights reserved.

Café Borges

Á Café Borges í Bankastræti
eru allir með brún
augu.

Hér voru einu sinni seldar sokkabuxur–
segir Simone–sem klofnuðu eins
og stígar í tvennt, jafnvel þrennt.

Já–segir Tiziano–hér rifust elskendur
þar til einhver kom og lagði
sverð
í meðal þeirra bert.

Eldar brenna.

Á Café Borges í Bankastræti
eru allir með skeggbrodda og brosa.
Þangað koma ekkjur og ekklar
sötra súpu með fáfnisgrasi og
hræra út fleyg orð
með göfflum
sem klofna eins og sokkabuxur.
Við hornborð hrýtur maður í rúllukragabol.

Upp og niður brekkuna fer dáið fólk; klappar steininn.

Ég er gift eigandanum. Við eigum fjögur börn.