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— VĂ­ctor Rodríguez Núñez

VBV, from A Balkan Exchange


The ropes I used to tie my son
are still tight and wet.
The wardrobe hides the attic door,
the hanging dresses swing.

We parade bottles of cologne,
we're back in Sofia at last,
two careful soldiers, maybe,
tying the threads of our past.

We are leaning over the cast-iron sink
in furnished quarters neither of us own.
We stand in front of the mirror and think:
in the end we put on our make-up alone.

We've grown old and look like brothers —
the way it's always been.
We are used to this. My son and I are silent:
theatrical, exhausted, smiling.