Kif rani ried jaf ismi. Ħares lejja,
f ’għajnejja, qrali l-ittri minn ġod-dmugħ.
Qalli, fejn hu l-baħar? Ili l-jiem miexi
u ma nista’ nsibu mkien – qed niġġennen.

Għalhekk neħħejt il-qmis u ftaħtlu sidri.
Il-baħar qiegħed hawn. Kif tista’ tara
imqalleb wisq biex tinżel tgħum; żgur tegħreq.


When he saw me he asked me my name.
He looked at me deep in my eyes and read
letters through all of the tears.
He asked, Where’s the sea? I’ve been walking for days,
still I’ve not seen a sign of it anyplace… this is driving me insane.

So I took off my shirt and opened wide my chest:
Here’s the sea. As you can see
it’s too rough to bathe in:
You’ll find yourself drowning for sure.

From Fish (2016). Published by Klabb Kotba Maltin, Santa Venera, Malta.

Translated into English from the Maltese by Ruth Ward

Cover art: “Bath” by Mimi Allin

Immanuel Mifsud Photo Edited

Immanuel Mifsud

Immanuel Mifsud is a five-time national literary award winner and a European Union Prize for Literature recipient. Novelist, poet, playwright, and translator, Mifsud is a founding member and current president of PEN Malta. He lectures in literary theory and Maltese literature at the University of Malta. His research focuses on the body and sexuality in literature, as well as the field of psychogeography.

Ruth Ward

Ruth Ward’s creative collaborations center on the Mediterranean, particularly Malta and Spain. Her translations of poetry and fiction have recently appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI, Columbia Journal, The Los Angeles Review, The Antigonish Review (Nova Scotia), The Common, Modern Poetry in Translation (London), Poet Lore, and Southword (Cork, Ireland). She is a member of PEN America.

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