Skip to content

Walking on dunes by Kateřina Rudčenková

Walking on dunes

Even though you were moved

by the abrupt shade of green

of trees and grass and pine-tree undergrowth


even though you were moved by this summer’s nostalgia of smoke

burning grass and grilled fish


even though you were moved by the children

who, as yet innocent of the restrictions of the world

already skipped from one tile of the same colour to another


despite all that emotion

you remained cold underneath in your disappointment

like an icy pond in a Siberian forest.


You kept turning to make sure

that footprints left in the sand had been washed away

washed away, you were not. You didn’t want to be

you didn’t want to leave your imprint in anything at all.



Other people’s aquariums

What I like about other people’s apartments is that the way

objects are arranged in space is given, I can only

watch them be.

In my own apartment what makes me nervous is the opposite —

nothing is definitive.

As in life. Fragile, vulnerable the way things are


I could, theoretically, move anything

at any time. My things, clothes, wardrobes and tables

are suffused with the provisional nature of my existence

here on earth, with my uncertainty, my mortality.

I uncritically accept all aquariums belonging to other people

(as long as there is no plastic castle inside)

only my own aquarium I cannot come to terms with, it appears

dark, its dirt falls on my head

I witness dying fish that I then

have to throw into the toilet

the flowers in it have to be endlessly moved around

replaced with new ones because they turn yellow.

Yet, I keep it alive for years, buy

new fish, keep them warm, clean the sand and stones

unable to stop.  Of course, until it cracks

and the water pours out I will never voluntarily

abolish my aquarium.




Covered by purple leaves

I’ll leave my roots under water.


You will open the windows, and from a distance

hear the blows from the time when

they killed carp by the vats in winter.


You will immerse yourself in reading, pondering things

so as not to think about yourself.


You will feel good inside those voices

with two sentences left

the first made of my rib,

the second of yours.




Mostly warm nights with windows open wide

are filled with cries and sobs.


Visitors are invisible through treetops.

This is where the year draws to an end.


A student who is a pedestrian in the street

and a drowning man at sea

becomes a tiny saint

in some family alcove.


There, the night has come. You’ll know me

by my footsteps and by the shape of my shadow.




Yes, I live inside the piano.

but there is no need for you

to come and visit me.



A visit to the sanatorium

Gertude takes me aside

entrusting me with manuscripts rescued from the fire.


An ancistrus dances on the wall

and her shadow, as she begs me

– tell him that my name is not Bertha!


Shaking off dust insects from her shoulders

– Bertha… does he ever talk to you

without raving?


A gaping window, a terrace

full of pigeons, animal vortex, then

nothing but Gertrude’s charged silence

the terrace sinks, the room goes up in flames.