I like to go bareheaded, stick out my tongue,
I’ve got no interest in clay or how it’s handled,
and obey the law, if I can understand it.
I accept it like singing, less often like dancing,
an annual holiday. Since you’ve shown me
the narrow path to safety, my hope has grown.
Give me the loyalty nature lacks, give me
a chill in the bones to call out like a child. I will strike
like a camera’s flash through comma after comma,
through fog as it covers the fen. Can’t you make
an exception? Give me a life unlike other lives
which have to spell out the sky, make me move
vertical instead, into the porous earth:
an engine forces me downward, no stopping,
it drills a hole in the capillaries, almost
imperceptible and bent on serving you,
on licking you as if you were resin
the pilgrims were greedy for, in the poppy fields.
I put my tongue inside you to prove—as if
you needed proof—that you are not alone
when it floods you where you want. There is
only one world. I guard it without remorse.
Translated by: Aleš Debeljak & Andrew Zawacki