Maarja Kangro

:

Bones

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Translated by Rachel Long
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for my lover on the occasion of the reburial of Marie Under

I

I’d like to eat you. I’m not sure how metaphoric this is because from a slight wound I’d certainly lick the blood. For anything deeper I’d take you to an emergency room, call 112 once it dawned, Oh God of Goya’s Saturn, this is tasteless! I’d let you grow back whole,
like the liver of Prometheus, without trauma or memory. And yet, at my wrist, the mosquito grows red, but can’t reach my substance. Though no one can say it’s impossible to really eat someone –

II

She’s dead, you said. Oh, poor, Marie! She’s bones! bones! bones! bones! bones! They say the soil is radiating differently now, vibrating under our feet. Glorious bodies. The shining skeletons are swimming in the shining soil. Authenticity! Authenticity! They say this is how she wanted it, that she had something of a fetish for soil with certain coordinates. I don’t know, I’m sorry, it’s how they link you in a chain of significance. But if it’s not you anymore then who is it? Who links this all up? They say Abélard’s skeleton spread its arms to embrace Héloïse’s corpse, and would have punched any other –

III

The bones are always national, the body a homeland fetish, the handsome war poet once said, bitten by a mosquito, poisoned by the bite, death by poisoning, ‘If I should die, think only this of me – that there’s some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England.’ Hey, Rupert! Rupert, c’mon –

IV

I’m wondering why the name wasn’t enough to rebury itself. Marie is a beautiful name; surname, name, in that order, like Haze, Dolores. Yes, when I see your name captured like that, confined to a list, I see the flesh beginning to grow on it, the veins, sinews, blood; her name has curves and thickset bones, you can almost fuck it. Almost. The blood rises in number sequence –

V

Luca showed me the ossariums once. There was a slight snow that day, some skulls had noble features, several teeth left. In Padua we saw the speech organs of Saint Anthony, brownish fibres in the cathedral. Buddha’s tooth is in Singapore, he said, but we didn’t go to Singapore. Jesus’ sweat is everywhere, fetish is but a recording, a simple potential, magic for the blind future, laying fatal eggs that we must study –

VI

a flag is flapping, the glorious body collapses –

VII

Do you think Marie would have watched me take photos of the corpses in Varanasi, the remains of priests rotting buttocks up, floating down the Ganges? I used to watch them to strengthen my idea of humanity, my humanism, my taste; with Marie, we would have relished Bill Viola, the Zen-elopement, an already beautiful body vanishing into a beautiful substance; fire or water –

VIII

We will never grow national bones. I’m playing with your clavicle, I’m an unimportant person, Little Man. In my wallet there’s a card, if I’m killed science can cut me to pieces, make use of what’s profitable. The bones usually aren’t. I’m trivial, I desired your T-shirt, and if somebody had poured petrol over it then, Oh! How dense and sad the singularity. It’s tough, fetishizing the unimportant, without cavities, it doesn’t rattle but smoulders –

IX

I almost start to like myself this way, in a singularity of burning sadness; the shaky peace of a fetishist. Don’t underestimate Narcissus. It’s not clear what he saw in the water –

X

A golden green horsefly walks across the meat; the ribcage rises and sinks.