Bas-relief with heroes
The young soldiers have taken their seats in the window,
exactly as found, shot in their foreheads -
to be seen, they were seated in the shop window,
true to their ultimate gestures,
profiles, arms, knees, their ultimate gestures,
as when they were shot, unawares, in their foreheads
or between their shoulder blades with that flame
finer than a child's finger pointing to the moon.
Behind them the barracks was empty,
smelling of leggings, crushed butts, a closed window.
The iron handles continue to rattle
on the small wooden suitcases filling the barracks,
as the moon's iron handles continue to rattle
now, before being opened to search for old letters,
old photos of time.
The young soldiers remain, polished with wax,
their faces and arms, so that they shine,
polished with wax so that thay shine, polished with wax
and seated exactly as they were at the moment
life broke and death swallowed the moment.
They stay so, fixed and shining forever,
and we regard them as we would the moon
rising in the middle of the square.
For us, who are now the same age as they,
though they have stayed long years in the window,
for us who have caught them and are passing them by,
and have beating hearts, and memory,
fresh memory, exceedingly fresh,
the young soldiers have taken their seats in the window
and mimic themselves, each to the other,
as though they were living.
From the book "Bas-Relief with Heroes"
english translation by Thomas Carlson and Vasile Poenaru.