Indrė Valantinaitė

Indrė Valantinaitė is a Lithuanian poet. She studied arts management at Vilnius University and at the Vilnius Academy of Arts. She has had poems published in many periodicals, and her first book appeared in 2006. Her debut collection, Of Fish and Lilies earned her the first prize in the poetry category of the 2006 First Book Contest of the Lithuanian Union of Writers. Her second book Tales about Love and Other Animals (2011) won the Young Yotvingian Prize in 2012. The third book by Indrė is titled Trumpametražiai (The Featurettes, 2017). Sheathed in a cover of velvet-like green the book’s title alludes to the material, as cinema seats are often covered in a similar fabric. In 2020 her fourth collection, Clothed with the Sun, was published. In addition to writing poems, Indrė is a journalist and producer.

 

Indrė Valantinaitė

Photo: Vaiva Abromaitytė

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Poem

Absent-Minded

Once, we were two stalks of bent-grass
growing side by side.
A girl walked by and stopped to pick you
to be her wild berry skewer.

And who could imagine
such bone-chilling longing
in a grass blade
that sways in the breeze?

When I awoke I had
been given fleet feet
in order to catch up with you.

I had strong hands with which
to embrace you tightly
when we would finally meet.

I learned human speech
in order to explain
how much I had missed you.

I suffered through all
the childhood illnesses
so that everything impure in me
would flow out through feverish sweat.

As if in surrender, one morning,
I allowed myself to be dressed
in a fresh nightshirt.

White, white.
Like the snow that covers everything,
where not one cat or building super
has managed to leave a mark.

I gazed on the face of forgetfulness
that morning through the window.

My fever gone,
completely healthy,
I wanted to play.

I stretched out my hands to my dolls –
wanting more of them
and new.

I never remembered the dream
about bent grass
until today.

Indrė Valantinaitė, tr. Rimas Uzgiris

Published in Lithuanian in Clothed with the Sun (Lithuanian Union of Writers Publishing House, 2020)