Elegy for Your Birthday
The day after tomorrow you’re turning 34, my girl.
Age, sufficient for observing life through the lens of the classics –
to light the museum lamp above the forehead,
to press a butterfly to the glass pane…
The worst is behind you anyway –
you’ve escaped the deserted island,
Theseus’s name has been forgotten –
even if it sneaks back in, it would be in a random rhyme,
as if an echo of itself, it itself unrecognizable –
the hands rifling amidst the deserted bed,
the birds waking up in the forest,
the strikes inside the chest, the futile screams
resound in another’s consciousness.
Perhaps in mine?
Theseus, museum, gale, smolder
Your love turned me into an old man
unable to leave you.
It’s Sunday afternoon. A cold Sunday afternoon.
The streaks on the window, freeze, swell –
as if they’re veins on the wings of chiropters.
What we’ve been through only cloisters us. You know.
And refuses to give us reflection.
The soul withers behind the teeth of a whale.
A latch, a grid, a damp wall,
cold draft under the doorstep,
a piece of sky topped with a gondola.
We will never enter a truce
with the interpretations of these signs.
Is it a Sunday where you are, too?
The space is shrinking, but the time – just the opposite –
spreads, ceases, rushes, returns.
It’s inside (and is itself) a labyrinth.
As if it’s a book that landed in a snow drift.
As if it’s a book that flew out of the bag
of someone who slipped on the ice…
or a napkin under an elbow in a red restaurant,
a sail of a sinking boat,
roaming ferocious wind.
The experiences of death and separation
That’s why, I believe, you can handle the words.
Lighter than your backpack, lighter than a cloud,
no heavier than an arm across your shoulders,
placed there as a hug or friendly encouragement.
No heavier than a song, hummed with forgotten words.
And in that way the scenery repeats.
The hug that forever separates.
The joylessness of the narrow streets,
the endless turnings. Nothing reveals
before our eyes quite as the insufficient mourning,
as the past whispering in multiple voices –
certain revolutions we don’t carry out,
yet they catch up with us.
I wasn’t able to see myself kneeling,
but on several occasions, you separated my head from its body.
And what is this body now – a ball of yarn, rolling
towards the exit!? I wasn’t a great sovereign.
There is only a bit left. I’ll be void of every memory
and imagination of you. This scene will remain
before the eyes gazing at a history they don’t belong to.
Mine or yours – it’s not the same.
The hand that presses on the trolley’s window
has previously absorbed your breath.
Ageless hand, shrinking.
A hand with a tag hanging from its thumb.