i seek you in the city

Radna Fabias
Translated from the Dutch by David Colmer

first i seek your body in the cityi don’t find it of course but i’m not in a hurry sopatiently i unscrew body parts from passers-by and quietly use themto assemble yoursi manage pretty welli only need the colori seek your color in the old brick paving of a dead, crowded streeti seek you in the polished rails the train glides overi seek you in crow charcoal asphalt and everything blackbetween 7 and 8 in the morning i find you on the skin of the electric wires over the entire cityi go up on tiptoes but still can’t reachyou are in the hair of the woman crying in church, the beards of pious men, the soles of the shoes of the girl in the grass, the window frames of the old building where a bride is posing for a photographeri find you in bark tree trunks rocks and the sand at three different locations in my country of birth but customs won’t let me take your color backi find you by the sea on the piles under the pier of coursei find you by the seafirst on the wing of a hungry gullthen i find youabove the seain the night that fallsto be like youik zoek je in de stadik zoek eerst je lijf in de staddat vind ik natuurlijk niet, maar ik heb alle tijd dusik schroef geduldig lichaamsdelen van passanten en bouw daarmee koestje lichaam ophet gaat me best goed afik moet het alleen nog inkleurenik zoek je kleur in de oude klinkers van een dode, volle straatik zoek je in de geslepen rails waar de trein overheen glijdtik zoek je in kraai houtskool asfalt en alle dingen zwarttussen 7 en 8 uur ’s ochtends vind ik je op de huidvan de elektriciteitsdraden boven de hele stadik ga op mijn tenen staan, maar ik kan er niet bijje bent in het haar van de huilende vrouw in de kerk, de baarden van vrome mannen, de schoenzool van het meisje in het gras, de kozijnen van het oude gebouw waar een bruid voor een fotograaf poseertik vind je in boomschors boomstam rotsen en het zand op drie verschillende plekken in mijn geboorteland maarik mag van de douane je kleur niet meenemenik vind je in het onderstel van de pier bij de zeenatuurlijk vind ik je aan zeeje zit eerst in de vleugel van een hongerige meeuwdan vind ik jeboven de zeein de nacht die valtom op jou te lijken

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Wouter le Duc

Radna Fabias was born on the Caribbean island of Curaçao and moved to the Netherlands to study at the age of seventeen. Her first collection of poetry, Habitus (De Arbeidespers), was published in 2018 to universal acclaim and went on to win an unprecedented five Dutch and Belgian poetry prizes. Habitus has been translated into French and will be published in English by Deep Vellum / Phoneme in 2021. An Italian edition is also in production.

Victor Schiferli

David Colmer is an Australian writer, editor, and translator, mainly of Dutch-language literature. He translates in a range of genres and has won many prizes, including the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (both with novelist Gerbrand Bakker). Colmer’s most recent publication is a selection of Mustafa Stitou’s poetry, Two Half Faces, published by Deep Vellum / Phoneme Media.

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October 2020

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Lee Yew Leong

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