In Focus

16th May 2023

In Focus

2 minutes read

Petra Szőcs


translated by Anna Bentley

16th May 2023

2 minutes read

We sip our baby-formula coffee and look over yesterday’s numbers;

again, an overweight family has died. We’re not too slim ourselves.

We hide our grown-out hair beneath our hats,

and even dry shampoo now seems unnecessary.

Mainly for the elderly and those with underlying conditions.

Terrified of each other, we take a step back

when someone we know comes the other way.

Doctors go around in plexiglass shields;

their infectious mouths speak of outlawed horrors.

For hours at a time, the lifts stand still –

When did we last believe in something good?

We envy the animals.

Soiled masks lie piled in heaps by the entrance.

We suspect each other of having a sore throat.

We burn sweet-smelling herbs in the squares, we mutter poisonous prayers,

for this our heart is faint; for these things our eyes are dim

because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it!

When the kitchen appliances also left us in the lurch

we almost lay down on the cold tiles

and never got up again.

Overhead, a fretful dwarf tugs furniture this way and that –

not limping, it’s that the passing seconds are not identical.

It’s been so long since we took photos of each other;

we stand with our backs to the camera, like mourners.

My heart and my eyes, everything’s gone wrong,

wind blows through the branches, I’m trapped here for ever.

With a telescope, I watch the foxes on the mountain.

written by

Petra Szőcs

More about the author

Issue 04


More about this issue

translated by

Anna Bentley

More about the translator


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