Elsa Aids

The Book of Limitations

2017 | Rubato

“all that’s missing are a few of my most recent mistakes”



I drove a hundred and eighty kilometres in two hours
and now I watch the nocturnal insects flitting jerkily around the tea lights.

I sense small shifts within myself.
I should go in, but suddenly I don’t want to.
There are lots of people inside.



I was born the wrong way round, but without problems,
I just lost my way for a moment.
Finally they pulled me out.
From age three to thirteen I liked to talk,
but most of all to myself.
From fifteen to thirty I slept with myself,
with some exceptions.

At the age of thirty-one
I learned to drive a car and with that my education was complete.

I’ll pass over the rest.

Where there is no room for silence, there is not much room for anything.
Even small shifts transform into small acts of spite.
Like the way it is between countries
during peacetime.



Solitary men are infatuated by warfare.
They grow fat,
but at night they feel like soldiers.

They are able to distinguish between different weapons,
they can name tanks and military ranks.
They all dream of a silver ring with a skull and crossed guns
for their years of service.

I never talk to them, I just watch them,
and they don’t know
who I am.

I am
a traitor like them.


Translated by Graeme Dibble