Lavinia tears herself away from the shadow of the house.
She shrieks like a bird.
Like a bird she shrieks again and again,
until she tears herself away from her own shriek.
The dust of the earth glows from within, light from waters and earth
night inseparable from day
the skin of darkness lines the solar egg.
February cruel spring, crazy March, warm snows flood the land
buds open wild beaks.
Oh, the high flame of November burning in celestial alcohol.
With soft paws
bears make tracks in raspberry patches,
tread down the silky grass after mowing.
There he comes
down the mountain,
a god of the waters—
there he comes and nobody,
neither the dead
nor the living dust
can remain indifferent
Lavinia weaves her arms among streaming roots.
Ants scurry up her folds, a humming touches her.
She sets out among hazelnut blossoms:
her father was a tree, a lonely tree
her mother a late, late flower, a flower.
Lavinia is laughing with her little girl’s milk teeth,
golden curls stream down over her forehead.
She sets out on all her fours.
Abandoned nests of bonfires form ciphers of her life.
But how is she to read them?
New shoots cover her eyes. Barren branches cover her face.
Evening falls on the manes of the hills. Spiders,
the bearers of news, web the path before her
ever deeper into the valley.
The otter, the squirrel and the marten have fallen into deep sleep
their ears vibrate.
The woman’s long braid slides into the river.
Inside her hearing the unborn hoof has kicked and turned.
The little key
slips from her grip.
The water has robed her in glittering fish-scales,
covered her unseeing eyes
And there he comes
down the mountain,
swinging his lantern,
His young strides leave tracks
across the mirror of the Milky Way
across ripe hayfields of the valley.
“Now, since that old woman has gone off,
you’ll have to leave, too,” Gelu says in the morning.
The little boy carries a bundle on his back.
The woman carries the baby in her arms.
They have stopped at a crossroads.
Andrei runs a few steps up the hill:
he can see on the face of the mountain the tiny grass blades,
the new grass hungry for the sun.
“Don’t go far, child.
Maybe we’ll pick up a ride who knows where,
happen upon a new chance.”