ONE POEM – Teodora Lalova

Photo by Sahar Mann on Unsplash


As I pass through the square, the station breathes in just as bloated and exhausted as before.
The rain is tiptoeing gently in a show of manners,
For in the streets around some stories still await their promised time to happen
And they mustn’t be awakened before it has come.

I often think of telling you
There is something wrong with time here.
I’m not sure whether I age faster or, quite the contrary –
Once we’re introduced again, I’ll be annoying in my youth.

Maybe this time’s eyelids are heavy with sleep,
Or it could be limping, dragging one foot
Outside the markings of the road. As to what the right time is, and what makes the paths
Of our every choice align, I prefer not to delve into.

But all of this is words, words, words. Time
Is at peace with what it is. In fact, “As I walk,
As I walk I am scattering my protests to the wind”, is what I should say.

I was careless with the winter of this capital.
I was counting the hours of sunshine as if they were cigarettes from a soldier’s ration.
Only recently I began taming the city, playing to it Coltrane when it’s least fitting. Together
We’re learning how to be wise. (And now I know: this city prefers the ‘80s over the radio)

Sometimes I wonder what you’d say when you cross the rusty foyer
Of the station for the first time. To me it looks like an idea of Berlin.
Or our Sofia in Communist times.
Like a scratched vinyl, spitting out bits of lullabies.

But look, I have to get lost in the streets now:
The rain has started to run.


The author would like to acknowledge Kalin Petkov, whose translation into English of an earlier version of this poem inspired this final version.

Teodora Lalova is Bulgarian and currently lives in Brussels where she is doing a PhD in Law, in collaboration with KU Leuven and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC). She obtained her LL.M. degree at KU Leuven and holds a Master of Laws diploma from Sofia University (Bulgaria). Teodora writes poetry in English and Bulgarian, and is a laureate of several national poetry competitions. Her poetry is featured in the forthcoming The Circle 19: a Brussels Anthology, published by IDLE TIME PRESS, LLC. 

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