Two poems by Ásdís Ingólfsdóttir

iceland for poems
Photo by S.L. Wisenberg


Translated from Icelandic by the author


Applied Chemistry


He puts glycerin in soap bubble water

to increase the surface tension

bubbles float longer

brightened by rainbows


before they burst in the sun



He puts nitroglycerin in explosives

to maintain tension

It’s well suited for cars

parked in front of embassies


before they explode in the sun



Nitroglycerin poppers

melt under the tongue

expand coronary arteries

so, the oxygen flows


before the heart stops beating





Just before he left,

he oiled the hinges

on the bathroom door

Now I stand there

and open and close it

all the time


He’s even taken the squeaking

away from me




Ásdís Ingólfsdóttir is a geologist and science teacher at Kvennaskólinn Junior College in Reykjavík, Iceland.  She is finishing an MA degree in creative writing at the University of Iceland. She has written textbooks in natural science and chemistry with her colleagues, translated non-literary texts and published poems in collections in Iceland and York, England. Her first book of poetry, Ódauðleg brjóst, was published by Partus Press in Iceland in 2018.