Illustration: Ansellia Kulikku.

An ice-blue uterus
filled with clouds and contrails.

A rippling promise that we all will return
into amniotic fluid, even if chlorinated.

I accept everything. I renounce everything.
I sink into everything, clothed only in a wet beard.

I float in you like trash, like dead insects,
like a gasoline spill, like lazy sperm

and dream of all the fat, which now dreams
in one of your repetitions the same dream about me.

Seen from the sky, you are one of the countless teardrops
painted on the mask of a murdered demon.

Aleš Šteger

Slovenian writer Aleš Šteger has published seven books of poetry, three novels, and two books of essays. A Chevalier des Artes et Lettres in France and a member of the Berlin Academy of Arts, he received the 1998 Veronika Prize for the best Slovenian poetry book, the 1999 Petrarch Prize for young European authors, the 2007 Rožanc Award for the best Slovenian book of essays, and the 2016 International Bienek Prize. His work has been translated into over 15 languages, including Chinese, German, Czech, Croatian, Hungarian, and Spanish. He has published four books in English: The Book of Things appeared from BOA Editions in 2010 as a Lannan Foundation selection and won the 2011 Best Translated Book Award; Berlin, a collection of lyric essays, appeared from Counterpath Press in 2015; Essential Baggage, a book of prose poems, appeared from Equipage in England in 2016; and the novel Absolution, which appeared in England in 2017. He also has worked in the field of visual arts (most recently with a large-scale installation at the International Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India), completed several collaborations with musicians (Godalika, Uroš Rojko, Peter N. Gruber), and collaborated with Peter Zach on the film Beyond Boundaries.

Brian Henry

Brian Henry is the author of eleven books of poetry, most recently Permanent State. He has translated Tomaž Šalamun’s Woods and Chalices, Aleš Debeljak’s Smugglers, and five books by Aleš Šteger. He co-edited Verse from 1995 to 2018. His work has received numerous honors, including two NEA fellowships, the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, a Howard Foundation fellowship, a Slovenian Academy of Arts and Sciences grant, and the Best Translated Book Award.