From the mouth of a dragon
the Baltic waters come pouring. A bronze claw flashes,
the sharp-edged current, curling up whiplike, lashes
itself into steam
at the fountain’s mouth.
No instant cure can be found for memory's breaches,
and, above Copenhagen, the familiar rain cloud approaches
from the left.

if you look to the south.
It is joined by tin roofs, by branchless mud-covered lindens,
by bicycles, thousands of bicycles. Hastily hidden
in the water, an echo has leaped
to the surface, beside the port’s gates.
The asters are damp. The attics parade their geraniums loudly,
the vertical line of the barge entraps the sidewalk, resounding
in the channel, whose depths

are opaque. You might say
only statues can conquer this autumn. The wet king extends
his hand to the bishop. The letters, the crosses engraved on the stands
are nibbled away
by the void of brine,
since history ends. The countries and states disappear.
Having lent your ear, you can hear: from the pole October draws near,
and winter behind.

The dim neon pounds
on the boulevard's corner. A traveler sets down his bags,
looks at Anna’s square, touches branches, silently asks
what city he's found,
since the day
overflows with the black taste of home. A sailboat bumps
the shore, and the name from the north, the crowded consonant lump
in the mouth, rolls smoothly away.

The solid stucco is laden
with crucified bindweeds, with leaf-stars and roses,
a resonant railway past Tivoli opens and closes,
the incoming train
is never delayed.
Not that thing called beauty lies under the pupils, but sand
mixed with lime, a cheek's contour, the touch of a hand,
the horizon’s line.

You're compelled
to let your shoulders fall back on the thickening wind,
to scoop up the salt and silt you know, but within
the inscrutable well the level falls every second,
and so many times you have offered thanksgiving and paid
for your exile in cash, having chosen your personal fate.
You won’t answer the beckon

of home, since each atom stationed
in your body has long been replaced. Dislodged
consciousness fumbles
through language, as if through a drawer. Moods, adjectives humming,
negations, the blindness
of infinite particles, crowded sentences, and, only now and then,
the dry, as if unfamiliar, but breath-stopping pain
and silence.

A cloudburst of rays
sets a crown on the spiral tower. You pass a brick wall
as if you blew out a candle. Baroque architecture must fall
as dictated by space,
and, instead of the bricks,
beyond the bushes and wasteland, sand meets the debris
of mare, pelagos, thalassa, sea, the singular sea,
as wide as the Styx.

And over the brinks
of crests, and over breaches of foam,
lead converges in piles, predicting oblivion and storm.
The flat mainland stinks
of squalid ore,
and the radio misfires. There remains of the homeland, all told,
just a soundless threat, a leaking uranium whale
on the crags of the shore.

For now, you exist.
Granite directs the stage; with the willows’ cues
in the face of noon, the park sheds its yellow leaves, the barometer clenches its fist at the shimmering depth.
Cold pierces through to the bones. No salvation from sweater
or jacket,
and Telemark ice is the wind, and fog is the breath of Kattegat,
and death is death.

All told, this prevails: apprehending the sound of a punctual train,
caressing the face of a stranger, hands on the rails, when, in error, the
whole dictionary coincides with the pronoun ‘we’.
The magnesium frost gives a glow to the tray, the sheets, and the traveller clenches his teeth, numbly shooting his seed
to the depths of a wearied womb.

Never again
to go home. To wrap yourself up, and vanish
in the fortress of fall, relinquish what you must relinquish,
and this still ahead, a trace of the previous land.
And hearts are still beating, however sinful and shameful that might
appear, and the siren’s pure wail interferes with the sullied night
on this side of the Sound.