their borderlines knotted a string
of snares and transgressions.
in the annals of division the boundary was inscribed
as victor. in wartime, the border strip
swung back and forth, villages
went astray, slid to
the periphery. their inhabitants
sealed their throats with crude locks,
stood watch over the silent crime scene
that i enter light-heartedly. often, followed by
their eyes, i took the armored path to a
neighboring land, to hear of earlier days,
when fences still lined the pastures
and a kindred echo bound
all the names. where a road once ran
its trace disappears. all is margin
and forgetting and transition.
Distant Transit: Poems by Maja Haderlap, tr. by Tess Lewis, is available via Archipelago Books.