To Be Read in the Interrogative
Have you seen
have you truly seen
the snow that stars the felt steps of the breeze
Have you touched
really have you touched
the plate the bread the face of that woman you love so much
Have you lived
like a blow to the head
the flash the gasp the fall the flight
Have you known
known in every pore of your skin
how your eyes your hands your sex your soft heart
must be thrown away
must be wept away
must be invented all over again
Happy New Year
Look, I don't ask much,
just your hand, to hold it
like a little toad who'd sleep there happily.
I need that door you give me
for coming into your world, that little chunk
of green sugar, of a lucky ring.
Can't you just spare me your hand tonight
at the end of a year of hoarse-voiced owls?
You can't, for technical reasons. So
I weave it in the air, warping each finger,
the silky peach of the palm
and the back, that country of blue trees.
That's how I take it and hold it, as
if so much of the world
depended on it,
the succession of the four seasons,
the crowing of the roosters, the love of human beings.
translated by Stephen Kessler
CITY LIGHTS Pocket Poet Series