Three Poems

Lieke Marsman

translated by Sophie Collins


The Following Scan Will Last Less Than a Minute

afternoons are
Eurosport replays
of alpine skiing
sponsored by Jack Wolfskin and Milka
brands to whom I am grateful
for facilitating this daily moment of calm

evenings are the joy
I take in loving Simone as much as I do
especially in the face of this overwhelming exhaustion

cancer is so quotidian
you hear about it on Wednesday morning
die on a Tuesday afternoon
no strobe lights
no cloakroom check-in
the sun is shining
a completely ordinary insipid sun
above the A10
and the exit for Praxis


The Following Scan Will Last One Minute

with cancer in your back everything
is suddenly afforded an epic quality

two people in a car
magical!

tying your own shoelaces
the stuff of poetry!

Simone feeding me recovery ward noodles
a fairy tale


The Following Scan Will Last Two Minutes

It is 1952
Bright colours exist only in nature
do not yet fill the aisles of Xenos
You can add an egg to the cake mix
to make yourself feel like a good housewife
Somewhere on the outskirts of Twente
my great-grandfather is dying of bladder cancer

It is 2018
You can separate glass from paper
to make yourself feel like a good citizen
You use a linen shopping bag
You give readings about the environment
You travel off-peak using a discount
You no longer have the strength to collect the small change
you get for recycling bottles at the supermarket
You just throw them all in the general waste