Simone Regina Adams

Looking at a Child’s Drawing from Theresienstadt
by Simone Regina Adams

Translated from the German by Stefanie Ochel and Zack Rogow

Do you hear it
The ship’s horn is already sounding
We have to leave
For unknown harbors
Do you hear it
It’s time

Alene Synkova, deported to
Theresienstadt, 16 years old

Watercolors. A watchtower. A ship
The light of a candle
at the edge. It shines
so far from it all untouched
Nothing could reach it
The lethal breath of the master race
Couldn’t extinguish it

But you
Your name?

Glowing ship. Two sails
sail into the deepest black
Of the black sky. A black sea
A sickle moon, dying like everything around you
Golden stars, always in pairs. Is this how you walked,
hand in hand, into endless night?
Golden stars. The Great Bear
you knew it already

Who showed it to you? And when?
How old you must have been

Black tower. A watchtower
with angry eyes. Gate of the night
that swallows people. Millions.
Watercolors. One picture. One of four thousand
from Terezin. One child. One
of millions. Like you I make dots
on paper. Ten in a row

Ten rows
make one hundred
ten times ten rows

make a thousand. Hours pass
Ten thousand dots dance before my eyes
into the night. The day ends here
five hundred days I would need to paint and more
not even one dot for each person.
I cannot grasp it
cannot grasp

Watercolors. The stars. The ship
The light of a candle. That, they couldn’t extinguish
But you


Beim Betrachten einer Kinderzeichnung aus Theresienstadt
by Simone Regina Adams

Hörst du
Schon tönt die die Schiffsirene
Wir müssen fort
In unbekannte Häfen
Hörst du
es ist schon Zeit

Alena Synkova, 16jährig nach
Theresienstadt deportiert

Wasserfarben. Ein Wachturm. Ein Schiff
Das Licht einer Kerze
am Rand. Es leuchtet
fern von allem und unberührt
Dorthin reicht er nicht

der tödliche Atem der Herrenmenschen
Das löschten sie nicht

Aber dich
Dein Name?
Nicht erhalten

Leuchtende Schiff. Zwei Segel 

segeln ins tiefste Schwarz

Schwarzer Himmel. Ein schwarzes Meer
Ein Sichelmond, sterbend wie alles um dich
Goldene Sterne, immer zu zweien. Gingt ihr so,
Hand in Hand, in die endlose Nacht?
Goldene Sterne. Der große Wagen
den kanntest
 du schon

Wer zeigte ihn dir? Und wann?
Wie alt Du wohl warst
Schwarzer Turm. Ein Wachturm

mit bösen Augen. Das Tor zur Nacht

die Menschen verschluckt. Millionen
Wasserfarben. Ein Bild. Eins von viertausend
aus Terezin. Ein Kind. Eins
von Millionen. Ich setze Punkte aufs Blatt
wie du. Zehn nebeneinander

Zehn Reihen davon

macht hundert
Zehnmal zehn Reihen

macht tausend. Stunden vergehen
Zahntausend Punkte tanzen vor mir
in die Nacht. Der Tag endet hier
Fünfhundert Tage müsste ich malen und mehr
Nicht mal einen Punkt für jeden Menschen. Millionen
fasse ich nicht
fasse ich nicht

Wasserfarben. Die Sterne. Das Schiff
Das Licht einer Kerze. Das löschten sie nicht
Aber dich

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 22, Issue 2.

Simone Regina AdamsSimone Regina Adams (1967– ) is best known as a fiction writer, but her poetry is also excellent, dealing with provocative subjects. Her novel, Die Halbruhigen [The Half-Restless], was awarded the Werner Bräunig Prize. Adams lives in Freiburg, Germany, and works as a psychotherapist in private practice.

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Stefanie Ochel grew up in Bonn, Germany. After completing an MA in linguistics, German, and English, she moved abroad to work as a teacher of German. She spent eight years in the United Kingdom as a university language instructor. In 2017, she moved to Berlin, where she now works full time as a literary translator. She has translated four novels and two children’s nonfiction works, as well as poetry. She translates from English, Dutch, and French.

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Zack Rogow was a co-winner of the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Award for Earthlight by André Breton. Rogow received the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award (BABRA) for his translation of George Sand’s novel, Horace. His cotranslation of Shipwrecked on a Traffic Island and Other Previously Untranslated Gems by Colette was published by SUNY Press. His English version of Colette’s novel Green Wheat was published by Sarabande Books and nominated for the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Award and for the Northern California Book Award in translation.

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