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Fall/Winter 2017

Anton Baev


     (A still life to Zhivko Ivanov)

‘Oh, Christmas, my Christmas!’
That’s how the pigs in Bulgaria pray.

‘Cause when the end of the year closes in,
The women turn vampire like crows on chimneys.

The children chase the rages with cornel,
And their fathers rave of treasure.

‘Oh, Christmas!’ – the pig squealed, tied with rope,
While the men sharpened the knives.

Snow mixed with mud in the yard,
Like the innocent and the guilty mixed in prison.

The man who would stick it with the knife,
Turned down two glasses of brandy and tightened his belt,

And rushed towards the porker, like a lass he might steal.
(Rituals like this always end with a meal.)

I closed my eyes, so not to see the slaughter,
Which was kicking like the neighbor’s daughter.

But the squealing grew like a new hit record
Spilled from the mouth of an unknown rapper.

 And ended with some grunting and gurgling.
(Is this how the barbarian rotted near Klokotnica [1]?)

And then the men pressed Mister Pig into the blood-red snow,
And for the last time, they listened to him snore.

And pig’s blood – scarlet and thick –
Sprinkled their hands and faces.

And they collapsed drunk there. It was all over
Like an abortion for a schoolgirl.

[1] The battle near the village of Klokotnica on the 9 March 1230 between the Bulgarian king Ivan Asen II and the Roman despot Teodor Komnin, won by the Bulgarians.

Anton Baev was born in the city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. He graduated from the English Language Secondary School in Plovdiv, specialized in community journalism at Iowa State University and in 2009 obtained a Doctor’s degree at the Institute for Literature at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. He is the author of a number of books in different genres: seven books of poetry, five novels, two books of short stories, a book of philosophical fragments and two academic monographs.



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