When the key hung around your neck
your head was Buddha’s tummy,
rubbed by relatives and entrepreneurs
with an unchanging New Year’s wish
(money = health, happiness and love),
they had their pet dream, you had your pet nightmare,
Bach on the radio, beans in the bowl and Bruno Schulz
standing to attention in the shower cabinet.
A happy man gets charged up outside, and emptied at home
(pockets, stomach, brain and sperm),
only the emptiness is left on the anatomical pillow
that remembers your head
even when the key has long since lost its string.
And now, when unhappiness too is a charging,
Buddha’s tummy needs to be rubbed against the pillowcase
or be replaced by some newer deity,
changing the bedlinen changes fortune too
like a battery charger that no longer blinks.
You need a key for everything but your conscience
horticulturally arranged with an English lawn, a garden gnome and a sensor fence,
a home where the one and only god is the community nurse
who comes to visit three days after the birth and three days before death.
In her black bag locked with a two-pronged key
once she carries scales to weigh life, the next time to weigh death.
Translated by Ljubica Arsovska and Peggy Reid