Vanilla Boy

by Tadeusz Dabrowski

Translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones

Read by Emma Rye

Sadomasochistic rain in Leipzig. It slaps the sidewalks.
It sticks its fingers down their drains. It relieves itself
in the city center, then washes away the evidence, so that
on Monday the boss won’t notice anything. But

the boss is no better, he beats his wife, who
takes it as the usual marital tempest. I’m having a smoke
in a hotel window, I stub it out on the windowsill,
which reminds me of your back. Below there’s

a young poet circling the parking lot,
fag in mouth, unaware that in ten years’ time he’ll meet you
after a failed bourgeois marriage, in which
there was neither love, nor even violence

(now that is real BDSM). He’s walking
among the vehicles before his first public
reading, trying to assume the mask of a master,
but there’s a gag in his mouth. He’s rooming at a hostel. I watch

him from above, from the window of a five-star
hotel. We’re getting wet. Fortunately he doesn’t know
anything about you yet. I call him, I swap rooms with him,
I dry myself with his towel, on which there are specks of blood.

I wish he’d always keep writing poems.

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