Question & Answer 3 – George Szirtes

Question 3

The blood fjord does not represent
the Volga river, nor does the Carn loom heavy
over the town like the Ural mountains.

I am first name then last name, born into a lie
about a messiah on the streets
of Bristol. I want to lose my genes

in Lake Héviz – blister the brown from my iris
and strip away the layers to find blue,
find my way to someone else.

Do you dream of being anybody but
you, George? I dream of being
anybody but my father

yet I still see his ears and eyes when
I look in the mirror. I shave my head and trim
my beard to avoid the best of him.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 3

The river has a delta and the bodies
float down it to the sea. Many have seen them
time and again pass the Iron Gates

and drift right through Romania. It was hot.
They were unnamed and unidentified,
marking the river’s course with trails of blood.

Fish followed them. The local bargemen poked
some bodies to the shore. Others were caught
in the reeds. I was watching for my father

who wasn’t among them though his washed-out face
reminded me of them, transformed in dreams,
becoming an image of himself. How far

had we got in conversation? Should I remove
my false beard and trim my nose a little
to please the tales of dead men yet to come?

– George Szirtes