Mitko Responds

Mitko Responds
     After Garth Greenwell’s What Belongs To You

by Mark Ward

          [translated from the Bulgarian]
You can always leave this.
Could. I write this in English
so your audience should be
able to grasp the conditional
tense implicit in your lips.

Your laptop is a splinter,
a liminal tether in the corner,
uncharged, dead. My face
in blue light, reaching, you
draped in diffused darkness.

Dread as your patience paws at me
umbilically. That is all I can see.
Your eyes excavating, cataloguing -
like either one of us is static - longing.
Instead, it’s easy to deny the impassable.

Your interest is me is atavistic, laughable
but      you strip the clothes, the dimensions
                        from me until I’m sollipstic,
impossible to resist, a line on the horizon,
skin to cling your way through the night to.

                        and in the night 
           there is no dance                       

           we are dead flesh
                        , a yawn, a blight

Your eyes alight on each new building,
flatten them to description, romance
is a shuddering, an angled picture,
everything to you is framed by motive,
an ordering of bookmarked emotions.

You relish the constant wrongfooting
and savour our ambiguous translation,
reducing me safely to a series of tics;
an ever-increasing sollipsis of decay -
the skin’s communal weeping as armour

obliterating your self, even your name.
I know what it is, what it costs to play.
Your book was a barn of memories,
a one-way street, a colony; neither you
nor I exist, we are pretty words, artifice,

we are the mystery              affected
without it, all this would’ve been
            I am by the sea now
you never knew me, a necessity that is
more breath         than it is economy.

***

Mark Ward is the author of Circumference (Finishing Line Press, 2018). He lives in Dublin, Ireland and is the founding editor of Impossible Archetype, a journal of LGBTQ+ poetry. Find him here (link: https://astintinyourspotlight.wordpress.com/).