What remains

Nadya Radulova
Translated from the Bulgarian by Maria Vassileva

if we take spring and subtract early spring, the slush,the crocuses, the exalted and light infections of the nasopharynx,the lamb, all skin and bones—Rossetti and Blake are yet to comb the celestial wool,then Lent, budding green, then the greatdesert of April,from the first day to the last,then the rush of blood, of the sun,or rushes in general; what remainsif we take a house and take away the children or the thought ofchildren,the down from the pillow, fruits and vegetablesfrom the large basket in the corner; if we take away the corner itself,the edges,the wonderful silver webs—the utensils of time—how it spins us in its spittle, how it minces us—also the delicate smudgesat the end of a meal, the expulsion,the mating season; what remainsif we remove the fishbone stuck in the throatof the gluttonous love cat, look at it, still jumping overthe moon in the yard, but now deprived of its catness—no longer a cat, but a hoop of despair,a scrap of silk, torched and tossed in the middle of the dark,after which even the middle goes outand for a second only the dark remains, but from the darknothing further can be removednor nothing remain.

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Nadya Radulova is a writer, editor, and literary translator. She has a PhD in comparative literature and is a part-time lecturer in the Translation and Editing Master’s program at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. She has written five books of poetry: Tongue-Tied Name; Albas; Cotton, Glass, and Electricity; Bandoneon, and When They Fall Asleep. Her poems and short stories have been translated into English, Russian, Turkish, Czech, Croatian, Polish, German, and Greek, among others.

Maria Vassileva is a Ph.D. candidate in Slavic languages and literatures at Harvard University. She has published two books of poetry, and is the co-editor of Found Life: Poems, Stories, Comics, a Play and an Interview, a selection of works by Russian author Linor Goralik. Her translations of contemporary Bulgarian poetry have previously been published in Modern Poetry in Translation, Absinthe Magazine, and Drunken Boat.


Spring 2018

Boston, Massachusetts

Emerson College

Ladette Randolph

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Ellen Duffer

Poetry Editor
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Known for its compelling fiction and poetry, Ploughshares is widely regarded as one of America’s most influential literary journals. Each issue is guest-edited by a prominent writer who explores personal visions, aesthetics, and literary circles. Over the years, guest editors of Ploughshares have included Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, Rosellen Brown, Raymond Carver, Tobias Wolff, Sherman Alexie, Russell Banks, Lorrie Moore, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Richard Ford.

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