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.
it could be that we will stay where we are. opposites
at the table, in the hands the crusts of a previous day’s bread
we can’t keep anything to ourselves: the crumbs trampled down
onto tiles, this legend chooses its own path, we are lacking
material, no question, something cools out from below
there is no way back to form, we come from nowhere,
we have never been anywhere else, our eyes fixed
each other throughout so no one is first to make
a move toward the window, toward the draft,
toward the southern forest.
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.