“Ivan Sinks into the Honeycomb” by Marc Vincenz



Ivan Sinks into the Honeycomb

After all his yowls and cajoles,
Ivan has lost his chords
and sinks into the shallows,
into the impressions

of mollusks and seasnails,
hangs his head in his hands
as if he wants to hold on to it.
He knows what I think of him,

the hoarder of things he once was,
the hoarder of memories he has become.
It’s too heavy, he mutters
as if to the spinning minnows

and the jellied eggs of crustaceans
yet to become.
And what of Tatjana, he mumbles
scratching a face in the sand;

the shadow of the wall
now hovers over his skull like a hive
burning alive in honeybees—
as if I had answers

as if I might become
soothsayer, groundbreaker
(when all that’s left is you,
you become everything or nothing).

If only we’d always lived cut-
off on an island, he spits,
sinking into the honeycomb,
drifting far away from me.


Marc Vincenz is British-Swiss and the author of nine poetry books. Vincenz is also the translator of many poets, including Herman Hesse Prize winner Klaus Merz, Werner Lutz, Erika Burkart, Alexander Xaver Gwerder, Robert Walser and Ion Monoran. His translation of Swiss poet, Klaus Merz’s collection Unexpected Development, was a finalist for the 2015 Cliff Becker Book Translation Prize and is forthcoming from White Pine Press. He has received grants and fellowships from the Swiss Arts Council and the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin. His own work has been translated into eight languages. Most recently a book was released by Tractus Arte Press in Romania. Although he has lived and traveled all over the word, Marc Vincenz now resides, writes, translates and edits in western Massachusetts.

[The above poem appears in Becoming the Sound of Bees and is reprinted here with permission of the author.]

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