The Child Speaks by Liliana Maria Ursu
Translated by Mihaela MoscaliucPoetry, Translations / Number 95
tears down his cheeks
then onto the paper meant to capture spring.
When asked about his parents, he blurts:
“At night mother washes the stars
and during the day clothes for two families.
Evenings she irons out words, to unwrinkle them.
father puts lipsticks on fish
at the market
so they’re always fresh.”
Born in Sibiu, Romania, Liliana Maria Ursu has published thirteen books of poetry in Romanian, most recently the selected Loc Ferit/ Haven. Ursu’s The Sky Behind the Forest, translated by Adam J. Sorkin and Tess Gallagher with the poet, was shortlisted for Oxford’s Weidenfeld Prize, and Lightwall, translated by Sean Cotter, was a finalist for the PEN USA 2010 Literary Award in Translation. Ursu, who has been awarded Romania’s rank of Knight of Arts and Literature, is also the recipient of two Fulbright grants and taught creative writing at the University of Louisville and at Bucknell University.
Mihaela Moscaliuc is the author of Immigrant Model (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015) and Father Dirt (Alice James Books, 2010), translator of Carmelia Leonte’s The Hiss of the Viper (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2015), and editor of Insane Devotion: On the Writing of Gerald Stern (Trinity University Press 2016). A former Fulbright Scholar, Moscaliuc teaches at Monmouth University and in the Drew University MFA Program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation.Image by Nguyen Linh