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A Child’s Drawing

Dessin d'enfant
by Emmanuel Moses
Translated from French by
Marilyn Hacker
Issue 30 Online Exclusive

Le lapin n’avait qu’un œil parce qu’il était un poisson. Il se balançait et était parfaitement heureux. Sa mère préparait le dîner dans la cuisine. Elle se récitait un beau poème. Si le lapin n’avait pas été un poisson, son bonheur aurait été moindre. La balançoire grinçait sous le soleil du soir. Il y avait un arc-en-ciel au-dessus d’elle. Le téléphone était mal raccroché, au salon, et personne ne parvenait à joindre la maison.

The rabbit had only one eye because he was a fish. He swung on a swing and he was perfectly happy. His mother was making dinner in the kitchen. She was reciting a beautiful poem. If the rabbit hadn’t been a fish, he would have been less happy. The swing creaked in the evening sunlight. Above it, there was a rainbow. The telephone receiver in the hallway hadn’t been hung up properly and no one who tried to call could reach the house.




Moses, Emmanuel. “A Child’s Drawing”  from Polonaise. Paris, Flammarion, 2017.

Emmanuel Moses was born in Casablanca in 1959. He spent his childhood in France, lived in Israel for fifteen years, and then returned to Paris. He is the author of fifteen collections of poems, most recently Polonaise (Flammarion, 2017), and Dieu est à l’arrêt du tram (Gallimard, 2017), and of nine novels and prose texts. He is a past recipient of the Prix Max Jacob and a Prix de poésie de l’Académie Française. He is also a translator of contemporary Hebrew fiction and poetry, notably of Yehuda Amichai.
Marilyn Hacker is the author of thirteen books of poems, including A Stranger’s Mirror (Norton, 2015)  Names (Norton, 2010) ,and Desesperanto (Norton, 2003) ,an essay collection, Unauthorized Voices ( Michigan, 2010), and fourteen collections of translations of French and Francophone poets including  Emmanuel Moses, Marie Etienne, Vénus Khoury-Ghata, Habib Tengour and Rachida Madani. DiaspoRenga,   a collaborative sequence written with  Deema Shehabi, was published in 2014. Her awards include the Lenore Marshall Prize in 1995 for Winter Numbers , two Lambda Literary Awards, the 2009 American PEN award for poetry in translation, the 2010 PEN Voelcker Award and the international Argana Prize for Poetry from the Beit as-Sh’ir/ House of Poetry in Morocco in 2011. She lives in Paris.