Skip to main content
Outdated Browser

For the best experience using our website, we recommend upgrading your browser to a newer version or switching to a supported browser.

More Information

Poetry

On the Brink of Life

By Marie-Claire Bancquart
Translated from French by Christina Cook
The dead need no more space
than a mouth from its lipstick.
They skate on the shutters.
This slit of daylight
is their last look, which spies us
exchanging a kiss
in a lapse of their memory.
They’ve planed the wall thin
drilled their opening
across from the door.
Breath that stirs the curtains,
steam on the mirror,
their beyond-fate breath.
Watchful now, we wait.
We are
on the brink of things.
 
“Au bord de la vie,” © Marie-Claire Bancquart. Originally published in Avec la mort, quarter d’orange entre les dents, Obsidiane, 2005. Translation © Christina N. Cook, 2014. All rights reserved. 
English
The dead need no more space
than a mouth from its lipstick.
They skate on the shutters.
This slit of daylight
is their last look, which spies us
exchanging a kiss
in a lapse of their memory.
They’ve planed the wall thin
drilled their opening
across from the door.
Breath that stirs the curtains,
steam on the mirror,
their beyond-fate breath.
Watchful now, we wait.
We are
on the brink of things.
 
“Au bord de la vie,” © Marie-Claire Bancquart. Originally published in Avec la mort, quarter d’orange entre les dents, Obsidiane, 2005. Translation © Christina N. Cook, 2014. All rights reserved. 

Read Next

December-2013-Writing-from-the-Oulipo-Killoffer-Le-Manif