Translated by Bradley Schmidt
from Issue 25
Note: This poem accompanies Ulrike Almut Sandig’s story “Against Disappearance” found in Issue 25 and also translated by Bradley Schmidt.
being a dog: but always being there for someone and always
being cherished and be good to someone who scratches. not
always loving being a dog, preferring to be a polar bear,
ball lightning, moon over soho, vacuum over raw meat,
but also being a human: eating at the table and talking
while eating, being someone and liking eating but till
then also enjoying going along outside, but just on a
leash, grudgingly if it’s going to be outside, but then
smelling everything, trash cans or little marie’s melted
ice cream or iron manholes or peed-on lollipops or
a hole in the ground in the front yard, dug just for that,
really loving smelling everything. being good but just
being a dog. liking spending the late illuminated, over
heated evenings on pillows, killing time and not
knowing: everything shall be over tomorrow. dozing
thinking once more on those who scratch and say: oh
good boy, you little guy, you minx, coffin nail: my dog.
Ulrike Almut Sandig was born in Großenhain (GDR) in 1979 and started publishing her poetry by pasting it on construction fences. She has published four volumes of poetry, a story collection, and two audio-books of poetry & pop music. Karen Leeder’s translations of her poetry were recently awarded a PEN/Heim Translation Grant. Sandig lives with her family in Berlin.
Bradley Schmidt grew up in rural Kansas and has studied German literature, theology, and translation studies. He lives and works in Leipzig as a translator and editor, and he is also a language instructor at Leipzig University. His translations of contemporary German poetry and prose have been published widely online and in print, with authors including Lutz Seiler, Anna Kim, and Bernhard Schlink. Missing Witnesses, his translation of poems by Ulrike Almut Sandig, was published by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2015.
Original text: Ulrike Almut Sandig, three poems: this legend chooses its own path, Quiet, and being a dog from Streumen. Leipzig: Connewitzer Verlagsbuchhandlung, 2007.