Lacquer

by Tomaž Šalamun

Destiny rolls me. Sometimes like an egg. Sometimes
it stomps me on the shore with its paws. I scream. Struggle.
I pledge all my juice. I must not do this.
Destiny can extinguish me, I’ve already felt it. If

destiny doesn’t blow on our soul, we freeze in an instant.
I spent days in a terrible fear that the sun
wouldn’t slip away anymore. That this is my last day.
I felt how the light slid from my hands, and if

I didn’t have enough quarters in my pocket and Metka’s
voice wasn’t gentle and kind and concrete and real
enough, my soul would escape from my body, as it will

someday. You must be kind with death. Everything
is together in a moist dumpling. Home is where we’re from.
We’re alive only for an instant. Until the lacquer dries.

Translated by Brian Henry.