This house has no prehistory,
it hasn’t belonged to anyone before us,
there’s no title-deed, or ghosts, or ancestors,
no one’s conscience in the corners exuding carbon dioxide,
no one’s shadow looming above the stairs
it smells of nothing and no one in the hallway.
Behind each open drawer gapes an abyss,
no wedged letters peep, no bills and photos,
the keyholes make a factory-fresh sound,
no one has made the floor creak or hum yet.
This place is still public, its genes are still new,
happiness is not hereditary, but unhappiness is,
and only we can be the first hapless here.
Children always leave from every home,
and then the home adopts new children,
but this house itself is adopted
with time before us like an open ticket that costs a lot.
Slowly reality loosens its grip as we sleep in a different room each night,
we fall on still-labelled mattresses like the temperature in the radiators,
we flow out through the siphon of moving house into clean drains,
we mark the days of the present as if waiting for a soldier to come home,
for the home, each day that passes is a reservoir filling with memories,
each person who enters it a deliverer of the future.
Our cases and boxes are unpacked,
the furniture fills with the breath of human objects,
our own smell slowly inhabits the hall
and we open the door more frequently,
the space takes on the shape of our bodies,
our heels touch the ground, the parquet creaks,
crumbs under the table, a doll’s arm under the bed,
a paper on the doorstep, a waste-bin like in any house,
instead of an alarm – life and death stand guard.
I never looked for a way out, only a way in,
little knowing that it’s an interior without draught, without a frozen mirror,
the peacefulness of a baby wrapped in a blanket,
life overflowing with everyday events,
home, pH neutral history.
Translated from Macedonian by Ljubica Arsovska and Peggy Reid.