translated from Dutch by Donna Spruijt-Metz





in memoriam Derk Wiersum


Having had to absorb a lot of life lately

I learned through so much pain that being dead doesn’t seem so bad

It is up to the stragglers to hold a ruler

to the living

Measure what is left 


I don’t know if it is the gloomy weather

or Brel floating around the room

Voir un ami pleurer strangling me

or the thought of you

that erodes my heart


I fear grief with the impact of a meteorite

The hammering emptiness that will fall

because I know that I can’t sketch you completely

And you will only survive in my poems if the language is found


Unacceptable are the tears that fell into orbits around my heart

Incomplete the memories I have of you


Your voice, your smell, your way of being

they are predators, accomplished hunters, they wait in ambush 

for a sign that always comes and I, wounded

again become their prey






Lucas Hirsch is the author of five collections of poetry and a novel. Hirsch has published poems in Dutch, Belgian, and American magazines and performed on stages in the Netherlands, Belgium, and the USA. His poetry has been translated into English, Polish, Finnish and German. He lives in Haarlem, the Netherlands, where he is currently working on his second novel and a sixth book of poetry


Donna Spruijt-Metz is Professor of Psychology and Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California. Her first career was as a classical flutist. She lived in the Netherlands for 22 years and is a translator of Dutch poetry. Her poetry and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in venues such as The Los Angeles Review, Copper Nickel, RHINO, The Cortland Review, and Poetry Northwest. Her chapbook, Slippery Surfaces was published by Finishing Line Press in 2019. You can find her at