Oana Avasilichioaei


Borders on Madness

It happened over a game of dice. A die fell through the tombstones. Up in the steeple of the wooden citadel, the bell gonged into a deafening clang.

We challenged the dice, became travellers of mirages.

Time strolled incandescent through its gardens of foliage, swamp and frozen lake: a contagious fire ignited all hours, melting them into a single number. To be its comrade in a new clock, grasping the crush of one night passing.

On the south side of the dial, the train tracks heard the shrill of a locomotive. The air was metallic. Rafael, dragging me after him, hindered by an immense swarm of large, black butterflies, turned: They alone know the hour! Where is the sky? Where?



we’ll slowly unfasten incessant roots, wind, foliage
sprout on our shoulders where the slow can’t take root

skirmish of the great azure boulevards
if i stir depends on you

luminous shoulders, silent and with gestures, flaunt the incessant
a despair similar, where is the firmament?

if tonight i summon you will the season be hourless?
if i shoulder your season’s nights will the hourless summon?

though lacking a handrail, i flood the house with spectacular pleasure
hand pointing to yesterday’s hour, embracing all hours, a time much larger, heightitude, ramifications

offer my shoulder, translucent with this exploratory season
waves flood, sleeves hoist, scramble up a bloom, sprout a shoulder scorched

a leafed wing rambles hearing your answer
the only constellation gashing at dawn


Note from the author: These poems, excerpted from Limbinal, are plucked and composed out of the field of my own translations of Paul Celan’s early Romanian poems; they border, transgress and traverse the porous body of our languages.



Poet, translator and editor, Oana Avasilichioaei’s books include We, Beasts (Wolsak & Wynn, 2012, winner of the QWF’s A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry) and feria: a poempark (Wolsak & Wynn, 2008). Her most recent translation is Wigrum, a novel by Daniel Canty (Talonbooks, 2013) and she was the editor of the Quebec poetry feature in Aufgabe 12 (New York, 2013).