Milan Ohnisko

Light in the Wound

2016 | Druhé město


You stand below on the pavement

Behind the window the twisted city

Silence like
inside a suicide’s urn

Your back walks straight

My nose smearing
the slime all over the glass


The Termagant

She tells the story of how she threw her daughter, 3 years of age, through a glass panel. Says the little one pissed her off for real. To punish her I shaved her head, too, she laughs, puffing smoke. I want to leave but she opens a bottle of wine, offering me a first-name basis. Three glasses later we’re doing it.


Sensational Journalism

I’m lonely,
during interrogation
the apprehended pensioner
confessed to planting the bomb

adducing further for the court record the following:
My name is Votýpka, but since childhood
everyone calls me Votýpka

I was conceived in a cornfield
or so it was rumoured
father allegedly wore a sprig of lavender
on his hat

My road’s been a weirdly winding one,
I can sign that. I’ve wandered
through moss as high as houses
as the Himalayas…!

What’s new with you
you can tell me next time, dear gentlemen,
Now I’ve got to go
milk the goat

restart the router
drink a cup of briar tea
because I’m lonely



Overalls glittering on strings like silver
the Sun freefalling into an unknown place

Hungry eyes seek out hungry eyes

A ceramic hand unlocks the door
a voice says this way


The Vltava

Sirens test
and silence afterwards
like in a silent film

The janitress sweetens her tea
tuning the radio

The clatter of heels

Destroying the perfume

Swans flying over the river
grey clouds floating across the sky

Many shall perish underway


Translated from the Czech by David Vichnar