Ernest WICHNER (Germany) was born in Romania in 1952. He studied German and Romanian literature at the West University of Timișoara. In 1975 he emigrated to West Berlin, where he continued his studies of German literature and political science at the Freie Universität. After many years of working for the Literaturhaus Berlin, he served as its director from 2003 to 2017. Wichner’s literary works include poetry and essay collections as well as numerous adaptations and translations of Romanian. In 2005, Wichner was awarded the city of Münster’s International Poetry Prize. His translation of Cătălin Mihuleacs has been nominated for the Leipzig Book Fair Prize.
you hang up the phone and now don’t want to live any more,
it’s the last straw and every path’s been tread. where once was a
god, now a gaping hole in the wall, yet your flowers
stand in the garden closely framed by walls and bloom at the
evening, today they’ll still bloom at night and
exude their heavy fragrance as if you had tried
to push back the night into that summer of sixty-five
when my naked legs landed with pinking shears in the flower bed
near the matthiola. their fragrance lay like spilled
perfume in the garden, the whole summer long straddling each
night and only falling silent when storms raged, yet when
lightening glimmered in the distance, it was the first to reawaken.
another decade passed, we moved westward. now
you don’t want to live any more and hang up the phone, leave
me behind, the small garden still in view, and from the
corner of the room i know i’m being watched by your empty shoes.
(Translated by Laurie Schwartz)