"Yours, Space"

Poem by Marie-Luise Schega & Film Stills by Hermine Virabian

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a star, a cross, a line drawn in the dirt
yet you forgo your godly gestures,
enter me without permission,
question my existence at the threshold:
who owns me. what I was used for.
why I was abandoned to time.

and you, where do you belong?

inside me, your fingers trace
relics of the commons,
dust and debris, a yellow plastic bag
feigning stillness next to rotting
flesh of figs, mandarins, cucumbers,
seasons discarded, not forgotten

and then, why did you leave me?

to survive, and I don’t blame you
for seeking refuge in the streets,
oscillating between wafts of meat and bitter chai
the familiar flavors of indiscernible neighbors
muted boundaries more comforting
than my emptiness

and now, do you co-exist?

or co-exit past and future
co-abandoned by war and peace
you tell your children not to pick at the scabs
but what is more tempting than pulling back the layers,
forfeiting innocence to scars as cosmic
as the cracks in my foundation

and later, will you remember?

gifting candy when you “won” and they “lost”,
you “lost”, they “won”, we lost, we all lost —
there will always be conflict here, I’m told
and always drink to peace
hoping there’s hope
even when the lights turn off



The poem “yours, space” was translated into Georgian, Azerbaijani and Armenian, and displayed in all four languages at the exhibition in Tbilisi. The translators, three women, also recorded the poem in their respective languages, providing the narration for the short film “boundaries of space, traced” by Hermine Virabian. Hermine and I collected the impressions that resulted in the poetic short film during our visits to the village Shulaveri and the main city bazaar in Marneuli. We are thankful to those who shared these snippets of their daily lives and consented to our recordings.

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