The things between me
and time:
My daily forgetfulnesses.
Leaves of the fall that lose themselves in the wind.
Desert sand. Its haste that evades the eyes.
The black complaint of the sea
that lasts longer than night.

Today we shall barter stones with the children on the street,
play with words.
Ask: how long a gull’s egg takes to hatch
in the sand.
What is the distance of love from the narcissus bulb
to the blossom’s whiteness.

Tomorrow it will rain. Winter will enter bodies.
The roots of the balsam bushes.
The cheeky voices of yesterday’s children
who shoot poisoned arrows from bows. Winter will enter the stones
that will grow abandoned in the playgrounds.
The words that seek to hide for fear of the speaker.
Winter will enter rocks that grew old, that clench their fists
at the winds that comb the phosphorus of the sea.

The things between me
and time
like the rain that strikes at the light
like the rain that strikes at the darkness.

        Translated by Michael Hamburger