(January 28)
Translated by Darla Himeles and Robyn Newkumet

Paris:
winter ’56.
The Zouave’s fez
thickened with snow.
The point of his bayonet
softened.
The Seine was an ice field.
Grandma gave me
a bearcub fur coat,
hefty,
with huge gray buttons.
My sister, even my brothers,
my daughter—
each wore it in turn.

(28 janvier)
Chantal Dupuy-Dunier

Paris:
Hiver 56.
La chéchia du zouave
s’épaississait d’une couche de neige.
La pointe de sa baïonnette
s’en trouvait adoucie.
La Seine était une banquise.
Mamie m’avait offert
un manteau en fourrure d’ourson,
très lourd,
avec d’énormes boutons gris.
Ma sœur, même mes frères,
ma fille,
l’ont porté à leur tour.


(February 20)
Translated by Darla Himeles and Robyn Newkumet

Each week,
I wrote my father
during Thursday study.
Three years I waited for his response, in vain.
He was far from me,
far from himself,
in a high-walled clinic
somewhere near Lyon’s entrance.
Later,
he told me he was “ashamed.”

My childhood is an unanswered letter.

Therefore, I write.

(20 février)
Chantal Dupuy-Dunier

Chaque semaine,
j’écrivais à mon père,
pendant l’étude du jeudi.
Trois ans j’ai attendu sa réponse, en vain.
Il était parti loin de moi,
loin de lui-même aussi,
dans une clinique aux hauts murs,
quelque part à l’entrée de Lyon.
Plus tard,
il m’a dit qu’ « il avait honte ».

Mon enfance est une lettre demeurée sans réponse.

Depuis, j’écris.


Chantal Dupuy-Dunier lives and works in Auvergne, France. The author of over 20 poetry collections, she was awarded the Prix Artaud in 2000. The poems included here are translated from Dupuy-Dunier’s 2009 collection, Éphéméride.

Darla Himeles holds an MFA in poetry and poetry in translation from Drew University. Her poems, translations, and essays can be read in recent or forthcoming issues of Women’s Review of Books, APR, and Mantis. She is a PhD student in English at Temple University.

Robyn Newkumet is a retired French teacher and a specialist in French poetry, with a doctorate in modern languages from Middlebury College and a DEA from the Université de Franche-Comté.

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