Tomorrow Triumphant

we never
really end up alone.

Sometimes a book’s enough,
a forgotten sea,
lost who knows where in the past.
Or maybe a tree, beside the window,
Where the seasons used to sing.
Or the distant voice of the streetcars
or that trip
that was never taken.
A river, perhaps, peaceful and soft,
that is always called the Spree.
Or a restaurant, in some part of Berlin,
Where love built nooks
for the fire of its highest tenderness.

Sometimes a word is enough,
a lost child
who comes out of the fog and speaks to us
in language we don’t understand.
Or a room on the third floor,
decorated with prints of Degas and Monet,
of Masserel and Picasso,
Orozco and Rivera,
and the newspaper clipping
of the burial of a friend
assassinated by the police in my country
for loving his homeland too much.
Sometimes the glint of a street lamp,
illuminating my soul from the depths of your eyes.
Or a sudden silence
broken in the cross of a smile.
Or a tear, perhaps,
dying in the limbs of my lips.
The smallest thing is enough at times,
to remind us we’re never alone.

And so I’m not alone tonight.
In this vast and silent shadow,
in what I see, profoundly drunk,
in the dawning door of my blood:
the illuminated ship of your eyes.

  • trans. by Barbara Paschke