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: