Joachim Sartorius - WHAT WAS LEFT

At the Greek Consulate, under the roof,
the crossbeams that sizzle in the heat
and crack, stand
remnants: two armchairs, the dark wood
at the handrests bleached by sweat,
a mirror, Ottoman, with marquetry and lugs
for hanging curious metal vessels –
in which to burn incense? Everything
is ponderous, thick with dust, the wash basins
painted with rosae hibernicae, the library
tattered and pillaged.
A hodge-podge here, nothing to make sense.
If anyone ever owned these remnants,
He´s nowhere, or fled across the sea,
or over the salt-lakes in the opposite direction,
or in behind the mirror he is pressed
with his shadow, his civilized manners,
the old shawl in which he hid
whenever he set out for the Rue d´Anastasi.
The remnants have become illegible,
like water crossing stones.
As one radiance extinguishes another.

(translated by Christopher Middleton)