Natalia Breininger
(Germany, Latvia)


  Private Picture



I left, because you had nothing to say, nothing to offer. You, the master of sound, of well-rounded thoughts, had nothing left in your mouth, as my language stripped bare – in silence. Care, protection, loyalty – is something for others. For society, politics, intellectual sleuths. Hey, I bothered to poke you – with ignorance, as a form of violence.


The ego, I guess.

The ego – is private.


I left, because I‘m not a candy store. Have you noticed? Not my face, not my breasts nor the buttocks, not my ethereal lines, my poetry, not even my self-portraits. I am not my brain, not my intellect, my well-spokenness. I am my soul, my emotions. Sometimes, my softness.


I left, because I like to be seen. Not being looked at. Being talked to. Not muted. I left, because I like to love. And be loved, fully. Be lifted up. Not treated poorly.


I left. Because I like to rhyme. Not being rhymed at. Because I wanted a man.


Not an ego.

The ego – is private.




(pride & frailty)


my hands

will be


like doves

flying up


to your cheeks

holding you



and free





A man

comes down the road

that looks like you

I‘m thinking

close enough


homecoming to Riga

I lie down
on the ground
of the sea


the waves
around me
and die

piece by piece





(in exile)


give me


give me

a home


I don‘t





(Πηνελόπη στον Οδυσσέα) *


when you come home
I will tell you

about happy departures

& sad get-togethers

unravelled linen fabrics

& stitched longings

salted waves

& sanded cheeks

about so many

I never loved

& how I waited

for you

to return



(*Penelope to Odysseus)





People tell you

about successes

and superficialities

about whom they’ve met

and what they’ve achieved

how great

their accomplishments are

and how fortunate

their marriages

and you just




and blink

and blink







These are

only the shells, the reflection

of me & this land

being one.



that I adapted.


That I became,

while I remained

a visitor, a diasporic



of this country.





(About poets)

            to Ilya Kaminsky


… and then

there is one

just one

out of many

that don‘t matter

who does


who takes

a gun

and brings

you down

with one

single shot.





I was flickering


flickering by


like the dawn




to become


a sunset for a while