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How to Build Your Dream Garden

Kapka Kassabova

Reading from Southbank Centre's Poetry Parnassus festival, 2012.

Translated from the Bulgarian:
How to Build Your Dream Garden
(Mandála, Ecuador)

Year one. At the end of a dusty road, find a malarial swamp.
Drain and fill with earth. Get Sick. Curse the day you came.
Year two. Construct a wooden cabin with shells for doorknobs, mist for glass.
Lie and listen to the waves. Remember, you were sick before you came.
Year three. Plant seeds. The earth muffles the past with leaves
and roots. Now wait for someone to come and understand.
Year foud. The coloured birds of paradise arrive, the iguanas balance
on the plants. Lost strangers come and never leave. Smile knowingly.
Year ten. Stop counting, isn’t this why you came? Now dream to the beat
of waves the only dream that’s left, dream that the garden goes to seed,
the iguanas grow to monsters and gore the strangers in the dust.
The locals talk for generations. And the sea, the sea takes care of everything.