Rodica Draghincescu


Here is the main street of the village,

like a thin old sallow cow,

whose moo crosses legends and ages,

in search of her calf:

on the right, the church rings noon with a toothless bell,

on the left, the bodega closes due to death

it’s then that the villagers

sit down at table and cross themselves for the day.

They are old and full of skins

leaning against each other,

inaccurate and expressionless.

As in bygone days, at the country fair,

during the national holiday parade,

when the floats, drums and military trumpets

started beating the rhythm and parading


and then,



in a fateful instant,

the gypsies lost their bears and their horses.


The cumulus of muzzles, hooves, claws and manes standing up,

has uprooted the monument of soldier sons fallen in war

and has dragged it over the memory blanks of the heirs…

Leaving the kingdom

where the evening star rises, and the sun puts out its last fires,

the cumulus changed into a plantigrade ballet,

flying in the air, necks tense, eyes wide.

Here is the main street of the village, in the now of the after,

upset, undone, relieved, looking straight ahead,

the way a biologist contemplates in the microscope

the gangrened fingers of a beggar…

There the village tumbles down, declines, subsides,

crumbles at the hour of sermons and solemn oaths,

grievances and reforms of silence

where the crow and the lizard divide up yards and gardens

with their beaks and tongues,

like a meat grinder in the sickly sweet purulence:

here, a living soul,

here, nothing more,

an old man dying,

an old woman alone,

a kid with two mouths but no arms

here, pots on the floor,

in the empty house, hats carried off by the wind,

shoes that beat the rhythm of an organ

here, names in black written on white walls,

here, an open window, looking out on another, closed

here, husband and woman, hand in hand, drowned in a fountain.

Here the hollow of a little isolated valley,

dug into the Plain of Banat,

whose river has dried up, and around,

sheep, goats, cows, pigs

without masters.

Beneath the playground of the school, packs of ferrets

share a school bag of attractive leather.

Writer and translator RODICA DRAGHINCESCU was born in Romania, lives in Metz, France, and writes both in French and in Romanian. She was part of a movement of nonconformist Romanian writers born out of the fall of the Ceausescu regime in 1989, artists and writers that critics called the « 90’s generation. After publishing10 books in her native country she became a literary advisor to several cultural institutions in France. Winner of the VIRGIL prize for European French-language poetry and literature from the SOCIETE DES POETES FRANCAIS, she continues to publish widely, and directs the multidisciplinary, multilingual webmagazine Levue Litteraire.