RR

OUR SEAS

my father taught me that if you drive patiently enough
you will arrive to where it smells differently

 

 

 


the smell of apartments by that sea rust and everything brought to a standstill by the storm
here you can even forget the war rice and tahini strange songs on the radio
already the first night I went to him without wanting much except his warmth
his belly was round with silence and he spoke in a mix of the old language and the new
already too far for anyone to reach him
and it was both a home and an adventure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

my father is stung by a medusa
he was a boy that grew up on the edge of a forest
covered in snow fed on grains and potatoes
an occasional herring bought from the jew on a bicycle for christmas once he was
selected as a fatherless child who was doing well at school to go to artek


what artek meant to my father whose chest already featured a strange-looking dent left by the
ribs removed so they don’t
puncture his scared lungs he spent an eternity of a night locked in a bunker
by a nasty neighbour’s boy
I cannot know but I imagine that at some stage during a swim in the black sea my
father knew that this
this cannot repeat itself
and will never happen to him again, not to him, upon his unavoidable and already desired return
he encounters medusas as something that
proves him wrong and it stings in the night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I see my father swimming
in his hotel swimming pool
later they walk to the sea
as he is swimming
my mother swims next to him
on her right shoulder she always carries small scars
left by our dog now long gone
his newfoundland ancestry suddenly reduced
to a puppy’s terror

my father swims and he could swim for hours
from time to time submerging and reappearing
now that I remembered that black dog
I think that he, too, is like one
slight fear always there on his amazed face
freckles that cover my mother's peach-coloured skin
are glistening in the sun
it's hard to know who is guarding who

 

 

 

 

 

we wake up by the sea
I listen in secret
there is a sea across this city
of fragile bread made at night
my kidneys heavy with watermelons
as if we wake up by the sea
through the open balcony
this frost of burning coal and light
hurts me as much

Contributor
Julija Gulbinovic

Julija Gulbinovic is a Lithuanian poet and literary translator who has been based in London since 2006. She began learning Arabic in 2011 after organising a poetry event “Palestine, Lebanon and Syria: Poetry and Political Protest” for “Shubak” festival, then very young, in London. Later, she lived, studied, worked, walked and loved in the West Bank, Palestine. Arabic is now part of her family, she continues learning it and dreams to be able to translate in the future. One day, she would like to move to Jericho – below the sea.

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Julija Gulbinovic is a Lithuanian poet and literary translator who has been based in London since 2006. She began learning Arabic in 2011 after organising a poetry event “Palestine, Lebanon and Syria: Poetry and Political Protest” for “Shubak” festival, then very young, in London. Later, she lived, studied, worked, walked and loved in the West Bank, Palestine. Arabic is now part of her family, she continues learning it and dreams to be able to translate in the future. One day, she would like to move to Jericho – below the sea.

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