Contemporary poets from Basarabia 

Nicolae POPA

The Light Drinkers

The light drinkers make their way through the snow.
Little by little the cold stiffens your back again.
It’s morning and the glitter of the blade
disappears in the lather on your cheek
and you feel the edge grope its way through the lather
you feel it search for your skin and shiver
around the wart that brings you luck.

The light drinkers hail you from white
polar dunes. They gesture that you should wait for them.
The mirror reflects the lather’s swirls
where the blade seems to lose patience
under the chin.
Then the light drinkers shout to you:
we’re coming! we’re coming!! we’re coming!!!

And you feel overcome by the little thread
of dark blood that cuts the lather in two
and the light drinkers breathe freely:
we’re here!
but you no longer see them
because they’ve already swallowed your light.


For some wintering is simply a way
a way of gently turning white.
The frost kisses them pale blue
the snow of foreboding swallows them
they fancy themselves kin
believe they’ve set out to visit family.

For others wintering
is a block of frozen fish
smashed on the counter with a heavy stone
they bear in their souls as if a trauma
the day when summer turned its back on them
they were traumatized by autumn’s ruins.

But last summer both one and the other
we killed mosquitoes
on our necks our foreheads our legs
because we didn’t want our blood
to fly with them.