from White Monkey [35.]

Translated by Christian Gullette

I read poems,
describe a family being crushed by its own baggage.

A publisher says I fill a niche.

“We want to make sure nobody mistakes you
for Athena Farrokhzad.”

She says that many of the poems are good,
but certain ones are
typical immigrant poems.

“You can cut those.

There are, after all, two poets in Sweden
and one in Denmark
writing about those things.”

I ask what people are writing about today,
what is considered new?

“People write about all kinds of things!
The archipelago,
the Winter War,
and alcoholism.”

Originally published in the March 2019 issue of Words Without Borders. From White Monkey © Adrian Perera. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2019 by Christian Gullette. All rights reserved.