Mila Haugová

Scent of the Unseen

translated by James and Viera Sutherland-Smith

Reprinted with permission of Arc Publications.


:i can hear the comet flying, hotly it grazes my hair, the speechless
silence has ceased (it reflects from the white walls,) a background:
the outward moving of past lives, bodies in celtic graves, animals
imprisoned in ice, disappearing under breath: acceptance,
forgiveness, mercies?

:what do i have in common with this night, a palm inside the
hollow of a glitter? The tormenting beauty of a body inside a drift
of sheets: what has come to me from your arm?

:what patiently sleeps deep in the snow? The future casts a shadow,
if you don’t come i won’t even know now that it’s a different year
from the last, i’m here, the borrowed dream of a god,
ice flower, mirror changed to fire.


…shore, a crumbled wall,
the emerald skin of a dead lizard, a jewel in the damp
sea sand… flower of no-one… a lap half-asleep…
slowly dropping anchor… with their lips girls un-
steadily touch death, old Roman glass… regularly
first blood darkens on their thighs…
they kiss the head of a twelve year old

…a man, closer to your soul than you yourself…
in the voice of childhood: you’ll never gain what you’ve taken…

in death
you resemble yourself, in sleep… hair grows on both of
you, fingernails, fury: either you can live passionately or you can
only wait for death. The lizard’s tail grows steadily, unslaked soul…
the body devours its foetus… I’m afraid like one who’s
woken alone in the frost of a fatal night (oh, hot tongues of the heart)
i won’t tear off the tight mask… I’ll tear the tight mask from you:
am i the first woman (Alfa?) are you the first man…

…sustain me like the pain I send you… my arms…
zerbrochen… a high tone from the throat of love

etched into silver;
are we stronger circled by a mystery?


for Laco Kvasz

From the tongue
invisibly visible
from the body
visibly invisible
from the desert
from the sea
from nothing
to nothing
here simultaneously there
from the genitals
of the soul
it flows
spirals away
glances against; the ray
from the eye of God, who regards us
with the same eye with which
we regard him.
Everything for us is here,
nothing here is for us;
creating touch:
of substance
of me
of you



To want without wanting.

I lack a semi-permeable membrane.

In darkness a flowing unknowing resistance to rhythm.

Horses approaching the menacing corral.

In the evening they fall silent and become immersed in themselves,

they strip for the night.

The bodies of women swaying between two waters.

A girl dives into a woman forever.

Closed within the partly darkened place.

Yesterday’s light retains a warm brightness there.

The discharge in the cathode tube from certain circumstances certain.

Sound here changes to colour there.

It is similar to a word with the name of an angel.

Unanchored in my sense I destroy. There time means nothing.

Only in His words do I find fulfilment.

to Laco Kvasz, 1997

© Mullek and Sherwood