Victor Pambuccian

Visibly Missing

Ruins of the Greek Theater at Taormina by Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka

The night belongs to you.
Your smile in the dark,
your eyes unseen.
you tiptoe into the house
with the nightfall.
Every flower and tree
in the yard knows you,
for you’ve lived here,
leaving skins of absence,
an expanding nothingness,
victuals to console my solitude
for the long years of winter.
You never sit down.
You don’t occupy a space.
Which makes it all the harder
for me to look at you,
to pray for your return
should the ferry ever
start operating again.
In the meantime:
could this night last?
Could it keep the dawn at bay?


About the writer:
Victor Pambuccian is a professor of mathematics at Arizona State University. His poetry translations, from Romanian, French, and German, have appeared in Words Without Borders, Two Lines, International Poetry Review, Pleiades, and Black Sun Lit. A bilingual anthology of Romanian avant-garde poetry, with his translations, for which he received a 2017 NEA Translation grant, was published in 2018 as Something is still present and isn’t, of what’s gone. Aracne editrice. Rome. He was the guest editor of the Fall 2011 issue of International Poetry Review.

Image: Ruins of the Greek Theater at Taormina by Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka (1853-1919). Oil on canvas. No size specified. Between 1904 and 1905. Public domain.