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Rima Juškūnė (b. 1979) is a poet and author of two books, Irisai (“Irises”) (2015, published by Kauko laiptai) and Perikonas (“Pericón”) (2018, published by Kauko laiptai). Having graduated from Vilkija Secondary School, she got her BA in Lithuanian Philology in 2003 at the Kaunas Faculty of Humanities of Vilnius University and graduated from Atviros visuomenės kolegija (Open Community College). Later, Juškūnė studied at Aalborg University in Denmark, where she graduated with a BA in Danish Philology and Humanistic Informatics in 2011 and later received a Master’s degree in Information Technology and Interactive Digital Media in 2014. For a long time, she worked as a digital media and communications designer as well as a translator. Currently, Juškūnė is doing a PhD at the Scandinavian Studies Department of Vilnius University, basing her research on short multimodal and heteromedial Danish literature forms. She spends most of her time in Aalborg, is married, and has three children.

Juškūnė’s texts are filled with a perception of the body as an inevitable condition for human existence. The body becomes the center of the lyrical subject, through which and within which its particular experiences arise, such as desire, pain, illness, death, sensations of time and space, etc. The topographic poetic map that she draws is spread between Lithuania, Greenland, Norway, and Denmark.

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reflections on belonging

a palmers chronicle right bw

Graphic Novels

Laisvydė Šalčiūtė, Smile, 2004. Canvas, acrylic paint. From the MO Museum collection.
Poems from the poetry book “Pericón”
 
 
 

solarium

when you consider how they’ll close you in
and shove you into fire or into the ground, think:
it’s a solarium solaris
a pilot’s sunglasses
and sunrays going
right through the bones

 

vacation

at night I dream of floods:
mother, drinking my milk,
sighs sated and white
between the lambs and wool;

on a bag filled with hay
a heated sheep breathes;
our fingers stained
with brilliant greenery,
with sweat – elastic waist bands
the metal of fettered scissors;

and father – a starling without a nesting box,
whistling around,
with a whip of his tongue at the blades, -

the hot severed neck
throbs between my forearms...

barely awake
a coal
smolders
in the bonfire window

 

remnants

I quickly stuff
short memories
into one piece of carry-on luggage;

freckled egg shells,
snowing from my dreams,
exceed the maximum allowable weight:
chubby children
still ask for stories for dinner,
tuck them in with kisses,
at night – water;

their dreams still flutter above the roof,
ready to fall
with the first puff
while coughing;

that which remained and continues:
a fraction of time, divided by
the white bridge of the will-o'-the-wisp,
rippling between east and north
yellow of the childhood maple – against the background of Skagen’s sand,
mouth blown open by the wind –
a Lithuanian “Our Father” …

I am like an extended accent
along the shore of the Eastern lake
overgrown with grasses,
choking on consonants of mollusks:

Ikea is my home,
airplanes are my refuge
from unfamiliar and unrecognizable places.

 

sentimental

when you will be here, when your fingers will glide along my wrists
like paper polaroid photographs, on the right side of history, in this
digital age,
I‘ll turn and lace my palms, smelling the domesticated dampness of limestone, from
the lines of steaming
holograms, enveloping our heads in a red chill:

there a loaded blinking boat slips, carrying our things to the north
and me, slowly growing larger as if turning the dial on the binoculars
from the scale of an orange to a watermelon, blowing and tightening the moon‘s cherry
above Vesterhavn
in a cabin white like a dove another face looks up toward a clasped breast.

and there white and green pastels of the landscape blend like milk, the line of the sea erases
the trees and the familiar living beings, the sparkling deck of the iceberg emerges,
when I have to choose between myself and my son and I chose both, turning the binoculars
away from money and pride. You sit on a metal bench

covered in blue paint and count the seagulls – sharp-feathered nights,
hunting for life,
painting little crosses with saliva dripping from their beaks on the slammed doors of personal cabins;
your sleepless face almost as high as the flag on the light grey splashing icebreaker:
it flutters, reflecting the distant northern light, I lower it like a sheet

the refrains of the thrushes will alight in the courtyard of one more cardboard apartment building, when I rest
holding your glowing head, with a nearly full album
tucked under my arm.

 

to those who left

you will never be like them:
cut your white hairdos,
and wipe off your lipstick,
forget about flirting and red nail polish,
exchange Gariūnai flea market jeans for Levi‘s,
smile graciously.

work hard, and enjoy
a satiated life, full of boredom, -
with whitened teeth it smiles
at the new national capital.

you will never be like them:
daily Skype conversations
riddled with existence,
white beaches and trenches of blackened snow,
sleep, dreaming of childhood.

your quiet bodies
look like them, but you have
two heads and two tongues:
one for thinking and speaking,
the other won‘t let you rest.

you won‘t return. your deceased mother
has sold the field of daisies.

for now, sew gray mouse costumes
for your children:
even they
aren‘t allowed to be colorful.

 

Translated by Ada Valaitis

 

 

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