I left my heart pe prispă near the sarai,
which grandma white-washed
with var every spring. First, she’d patch
the cracks in the wall: several layers of lut
mixed with balegă. I used to collect
the horseshit myself pe imaș, while
feeding Mașa, the goat, acacia leaves.
A black-and-white cat always watched
from afar, licking its paws. Its name?
Alba-Neagra. It never came when called.
I dropped my heart like un ou in a bowl
of Romanian borș ca la mâca acasă.
I fried it into jumări, poured its red body
into pahare de vin. I stirred its hominy
gruel with a wooden melesteu in ceaun
until it curdled într-un pumn de mămăligă.
There was a time when I gulped aer
de sat, washed by o ploaie ciobănească
for days in a row. Grandpa combed lână,
grandma spun it into yarn. Eyes closed,
they sang mournful songs about sons
who forget to come home, while my
twelve-year-old heart worried that neither
the rain, nor my childhood would ever end.