Mária Ridzoňová Ferenčuhová - PHOTOGRAPHS

A landscape – a map.
Houses scattered around
or completely washed away,
remnants of squares,
intersections with perfect surface,
carefully drawn lanes,
not a trace of blood,
an abandoned construction set,
only the road is absorbed by mud
or mud licks the road.

A little boy has lost interest,
dribbling the ball on another playground.

Thousands of springlets, streams, feeders
run on the rocks, growing wider,
advancing, roaring,
and if you stumble,
first they go round you like a pebble,
even someone stops, dams the stream,
other ones leap over, pull,
walk on,
trample down ­–

a bit further,
down aslant,
in the red heat
the only drop slides down the tube,
falls on s stone, bounces off, sizzles,
the remaining ones evaporate by the way –

a rough and dry
little tongue
licks my hand:


Somewhere on the fringe of perception
lithospheric plates
move for a while,
the back straightens out,
vertebra crack,
the earth moves,
the giantess yawns,
and what falls inside,
she immediately digests.

A landscape – a postcard.
Containers, boxes,
the noses of houses dug into the soil.
In the giant cracks of pavements
what confronts invasions of pickers are only boards,
papers and bricks.
On an empty ground there remained two trees.
Celestial peace
– or at least almost celestial –
on the cathedral without towers
ruins still stand on end like hair.

We are watchmakers.
Me and my little son.
He has two alarm clocks. He says:
I want these two alarm clocks
to be next to each other.
This one will be Next to
and this one Each other.

To create the world of words.
Of nothing:

A landscape – a scenery.
Once magnificent buildings,
palaces of modernism,
high railway headquarters
with all windows smashed,
a station, a hotel, a department store,
a hospital, a villa on the hill,
nearby housing estates,
cardboards, concrete, glass,
cracked hard cement plaster,
subsiding walls, layers of dirt,
skeletons of cities in too vast space.
And hordes of vandals
on low horses
occupy distant shores,
there is still a place to travel to,
things to eat
and anything old could be
searched out in archives
but hardly anyone would do it.

Not everything is in vain.
Now and then grass trembles,
lashes rise, slightly exposing the look.
You look at me. You see me.
Today my hair won’t fall on forehead,
a front shot won’t be cancelled by a quick cut.
I won’t hide behind the display again,
today we’ll rest on the axis of our looks
at eye level
(you needn’t always wish to get as far as to heaven)
and move the look from above the table
into the sleeping-room or on the carpet.

Mucous membranes, villi, tissue, cytoplasm,
fibrils, folded clusters, geometrical figures,
– a world ruined at a stroke.
The substance remains constant:
one organism absorbs another,
building palaces on its foundations.
A haemorrhagic shock, studying the content of the chamber pot,
external signs, sunken eyes, dry mouth,
weariness. A faint smile. Without a smile.
Or without any sign:
a sudden fall from the staircase right to the coma.
The torn, cut, scratched
skin at least allows to watch
the process of healing.
I can’t hear moist threads tear inside me.
I observe the skin in panic.
It must reflect what goes on inside!
But macro world replies micro world.
Somewhere in the distance other cities
collapsed with rumbling and no resistance.

We embrace each other in an old house,
when it shakes with construction works in the loft.
We hide behind double glazing and thick walls,
under the ceiling held up just by the warmed up air.
We pushed the cot to our bed
to feel safer,
while the wind rattles
the open roof and the sun whitens it
like a trepanned skull of a patient dead for centuries.

You sleep. The dust on the furniture doesn’t stir.
The parquet floor isn’t squeaky.
Our son still sleeps, too.
Only on the walls, among the toys,
in the bookcase and under the cupboard,
in the bathroom behind the washing machine,
next to the sofa and on the window frame
his clock ticks fiercely, with no mercy.

Translated by Marián Andričík