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

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

Donatas Petrođius

The sacrifice of the steer

with a hired horse tied to the cart we lead the steer
to be sold as meat 400 kg for 2.70 lt by live weight
the stopped animal ruminates – empty bowels – who
warns them before death and what makes them cleanse
themselves and who sets the price

we lead the bull over the asphalt hill until finally
the animal rolls over into a ditch – the whole procession stops
and I understand at this moment that I don’t believe
this sacrifice will be accepted that it’s not wanted by the gods

the bull knocks the cart into a street sign turns
the whole world wheels up and at this moment the sun
is rolling along the ground so I understand what the words
our money is burning really mean – I must decide for myself
at this moment – who am I to this animal and do I have the right
to exchange his death to lengthen the feast of my life will
I have the impudence to slice and scream at his frightened blood

a white cloud of dust rises and there flashes within it
a nickel-plated fish-scale fettered bicycle a titan
in an olive-oily toga is going about his chores during
his lunch break and he turns us back onto the [straightest] road
and tells us not to think about where we are going on the asphalt or
on the tops of trees heaping our heads with guilt searching for rights
and gifts and the grace of gods which we so desire

o gods accept our herded sacrifice and let our
souls re-dressed in furs into
your eternal hunting grounds

                                            Translation of “Jaučio aukojimas”

How the earth carries me

if I were of noble lineage or at least
if my grandparents had been more resourceful and
hadn’t starved all their lives if
my parents had received an allotment for some zhigulis
or at least a voucher for some soft corner
I would be standing on my feet quite
differently firmly taking up a different
status in society I would have gone further among
the people maybe they would even respect me more

if I had inherited silver place settings
a ruined outbuilding of an estate ancient
pictures in meaningful frames noble
ghosts in grimed up mirrors or at least
documents proving we once owned half
of the North West I would now write
aristocratically burning slender candles
crying pearly tears in a white sleeve
I would be an Acmeist or at least in that

direction crossing recreation areas welltrodden
corners I think of what is now
my own besides the walls of books four
pairs of athletic shoes one for dirt
and dust another for artificial
turf [soccer] gray running shoes
for even days white ones for odd days while
the first pair gets wet the others dry I’m
drunk with the dampness of pines bound
to a borrowed dog suddenly I fly to
the railing leaning out to see whether
the wind still sways this suspended
rope bridge whether the earth still carries me
through all four corners of this world

                    Translation of “Kaip ţeme mane neđioja”

Nature studies in contemporary history

About the human being, his insides
and reproductive functions – not until the ninth grade;
until then, somehow I’ll have to suffer through
shaggy eighth grade zoology:
from cnidaria to elephantidae
and elephants. Inclusive.
Seventh grade: I turn into a calf and digest
my way through trees, grasses, shrubs,
lichens, mosses, mushrooms, but not all of it.
And what about getting to know nature? If the sun shines,
then you can find your bearings and get home.
If it’s cloudy, that means you get lost. Look down
at the lichens and moss. Don’t panic. Don’t run.
When you run, your left leg is shorter –
running circles to the same place, to the same time,
the same mood; even the scents are the same – giant
unread books of autumn – the start
of September itself hands out contemporary
history, but I can see at once –
it lies – this history isn’t new: three children
enter the records and their condition is rated
as if in the school year: the beginning – v. good; the end –
v. good; the next year – also v. good –
write what you want, you can’t dupe me: the farther things go,
the faster the news gets old;
contemporary history ended the year before the year before last:
then I still had two athletic shoes
I kept them in an unlocked locker
and someone threw one behind the ceiling net
that protects lights from blows in the gym –
I should get it down, but where does one find such a long pole?
in my town such trees just don’t grow,
so I went to Blackforest to check the situation there – the impenetrable
stocky might of it all! – I will show up with a hatchet and
that might as well be the end of me;
along the forest edge – broken lumber trucks and
the skeletons of timber industry machines,
skulls of forestry service officers, the petrified footprints
of fleeing collective farmers – here the latest times
began a long time ago but didn’t last long –
beavers and other devils clogged the drainage systems,
the land exploded like radiators
in the cultural center during unexpected March frosts;
I used to sit and re-watch old films on dark nights when
the unpiloted sputniks of our empire
would fly in and burn without sound
in the highest layers of our atmosphere –
but not necessarily at night, because sometimes the day flares
with a gorgeous light, and you can’t explain it –
where could it come from?

        Translation of “Gamtos paţinimas naujausiujř laikř istorijose”