Skip to content

Log Out



I’ll take nails,
long nails,
and drive them into my body.
Quite gently,
quite slowly,
so that it takes longer.
I’ll make a detailed plan.
I’ll pad myself every day
for example some ten square centimeters.

Then I’ll set fire to everything.
It’ll burn a long time,
it’ll burn for seven days.
Only the nails will remain,
soldered, all rusted.
So I’ll remain.
So I’ll survive everything.



Translated from the Slovenian by Brian Henry



Tomaž Šalamun (1941–14) published more than fifty books of poetry in his native Slovenian. Translated into over twenty-five languages, his poetry received numerous awards, including the Jenko Prize, the Prešeren Prize, the European Prize for Poetry, and the Mladost Prize. In the 1990s, he served as the cultural attaché for the Slovenian embassy in New York.

Brian Henry has published eleven books of poetry, most recently Permanent State (Threadsuns), as well as a book of prose, Things Are Completely Simple: Poetry and Translation (Parlor). He has translated numerous books from Slovenian.




Image depends on its subscribers and supporters. Join the conversation and make a contribution today.

+ Click here to make a donation.

+ Click here to subscribe to Image.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Receive ImageUpdate, our free weekly newsletter featuring the best from Image and the world of arts & faith

* indicates required