Saturday 23 August 2014

A poem from 'Jaja de Oerknal' by the Dutch writer Maria Barnas


A black physiotherapist on Iceland invited me out
for a walk. He looked at my hips

and I saw a future. He said: ‘Your posture is wrong.’
Shoulders back, chest out.

I jolted through the snow pallid as my surroundings
and he moved majestically in the white.

When he showed me the top of the Vatnajökull
the snow scrunched under my feet.

The earth’s crust tore until I was standing
upright under an ice cap. Then over the ice I was just able

to gaze into the world where the physiotherapist
on his knees stretched out a hand to me.

Ice water round my feet splatters into an abyss
into which with a single step I can disappear.

It is white inside my head. Can anyone give me details?
I’m standing in the middle of a baffled universe.

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