ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 2014 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.

Volume 60, No.1 - Spring 2014
Editor of this issue: Rimas Uzgiris

Ilzė Butkutė

Lullaby for Rachel

        – My father’s note (1943)

Gather your dolls,
lay them
in the carriage,
and close
up their eyes.

The city
has not yet awakened.

can still get out.

No one
will see.

The pale
clothes of morning
soaked in a blue fog,
the panting
of a dog.

Like a dove
a person.

Cried out.

And fell
in the grass.

Gather me,
from the scraps of dawn,
from the tired echoes.

That time –
that time I didn’t wake you –

left you sleeping, child.

You were left.
just you.

        Translation of “Lopšinė Rachelei. Tėčio raštelis (1943)”

Embroidery in the garden of knives

I am a woman – an open window,
who buries a bastard in the garden
every night, naked in the crosswind.
I quietly cut a clutch of hair

soaked with the scent of hands
that haven’t been touched –
my braids grow shorter with
each trimming. In my stables,

great steeds rear as they feel
the approach of armed sleep,
driven by a man without a face –
he is not forbidden – nor is he given

to me, or to others. Let him be.
My friend, please button my corset,
so that I won’t lean out the window
to watch how my crosswind knives

sprout inch by inch in the garden –
how blades rise from the soil
and slice the full moon into wane.
And dogs – even they don’t feel

how sleep is the beginning of assault.
My love, give me that box
with needle and thread – I want
to sew up my hands with dreams.
            Translation of “Siuvinėjimas peilių sode”

To yearn is to walk with one’s hands

Forgive me, I didn’t tell you – I grew up in a circus.
They left me to study with the magician –
to draw a handful of rabbits from the night.

And someone without a ticket,
unbuttoned to the dusk, taught me
the courage to rise – never to shatter.

I was raised by ten dwarves.
I helped them with costumes and makeup,
and leaning over, I listened to lullabies –

I outgrew them and my time there.
They would tell me: to travel is to be late
to those places that don’t know you.

I was raised by a blind acrobat –
he trained me to forget the pull of the earth
and to walk with my hands through every

town of the valley so that my shoes
would fill up with the sky. In a field
of narrowing tires, I was the target.

And I wasn’t allowed to touch – not the walls,
not strange voices, not fear – until I could
stand still through the flight of knives:

whatever is domesticated by the blade – remains.
They remembered me of their own accord.
Please, just don’t say that you pity me.

                Translation of “Ilgėtis – tai vaikščioti rankomis”