Free Verse for Never-Fading Memories

by Georgi Atanassov

Translated from the Bulgarian by Elitza Kotzeva

Sixty years ago
In Lom they were killing all crows.
They’d sign a paper
to get a handgun
with an ammo box.
People whom I love
were shooting at birds
perched on their neighbors’ chimneys
and I saw
how they were cutting off their legs.
“It’s a cure,”
they said,
but I still can’t
get cured of the memory.
Only one other time it was more scary
when in the night
they took away our horse
and my grandfather cried.
Before he could starve to death
in the yard of the collective farm
right below the city graveyard
they had shot him dead.
Mercy
for the merciful people
and their souls.


Artwork by Vania Valkova
This poem was first published in Bulgarian by The New Social Poetry. You can read their manifesto
here.

Caitlyn Garcia