Our morning rooms filled with jasmine and dust.
The window, like a screen, cut off by arches from
the murky canal, contained passersbys’ backs, lime-
spattered gateways, the poplar’s oblong rhombus,
at times, your raincoat. Those passé fashions out
of the ‘Thaw. When you were late, I felt robbed
of the gift of speech. For four years we parted
or, to put it more truthfully, right from the start.
No Tristan in search of a sail: an astronomer
perhaps, clinging to his lens in the Alpine night,
I spied, by the crossroads, the yellow, soot-coated
house. And later, a slender figure drawing near.
The courtyards were destroyed. Only the canal
and streets’ telescopes endure. When I happen
here (on either way to the terminal) I can even
see the dead in the streets’ depth, but have little
hope of seeing you. Little desire. If, when I halt,
blood presses on the aorta, it doesn’t really last.
Just as slow-moving planets in orbital paths pass,
only the tide registers the gravitation, barely felt.
A poet would have said only enjambment endures.
Words, once near to each other, return to the void —
a line or stanza breaks from another. Though poor
syntax tries to unite what the rhyme has severed.