the man with two faces

Mariana Dan

                        translated from the Romanian by Adam J. Sorkin and the poet

a wall of pendulum clocks
here and now
I bow down
it’s five o’clock in kuala lumpur
among palms and skyscrapers
the boisterous street-sweepers
have cleaned in front of the mosque
the slick wrappers from snickers and chips
cellophane from raffaello
the water stream from the boys’ hoses
have collected on the sewerage grate
in belgrade, mirijevski venac 4
where I live
“tick-tick,” says chandra-gupta
my tomcat purring
“tick-tick,” say the saints in the icons
on the wall
whom can you believe
not seeing Him?
the crumbs
inside me
from the morning’s bread
turn back into a loaf
I lick my fingers
still sticky with honey
where are the bees?
the moments?

where else but
in the kuala lumpur
of chandra-gupta

together we entered
2007 purring and
countless other times
a wall of pendulum clocks
a wall of icons
the man of yesterday
and the man of today –
a man with at least
two faces
it rains yesterday
and it snows me 


The author of twelve books including three collections of poetry, Mariana Dan was born in Bucharest but has lived in Belgrade for almost thirty years. She  received her doctorate from the University of Belgrade, where she now heads the Romanian department. Dan’s interests range from Romanian literature to the Romanian minority in Serbia. Her most recent book of poetry, Angels at the Bus Stop (2006), has won major critical recognition.  Three poems from the book are appearing in Words Without Borders in a joint translation with Adam J. Sorkin.