The old kitten is replaced by a new baby kitten
the old dog by a new pup
like a dead Monday by Tuesday.
They stroke the new kitten in their laps
so that their excess affection won't go sour,
so that it will love them in return, like the old one did.
But for me they aren't replaceable,
not the kitten, not the Monday, not anything else;
for me they never die.
They only distance themselves, or dwell in me
disappearing into the distance: they dwell in my heart and ears,
like the Moonlight Sonata dwells in a piano.
Gone? No new rain rinses the shower-scent
of an old Monday from me,
no matter how hard it pours, hisses, streams.
Ridiculous, maybe, but it feels good to me,
like an old stone in the cemetery,
on which a bird might drop its feather.
Out there in the City Park and everywhere,
where forgetting fattens fresh ice,
how many, attentively oblivious, are skating!
I understand them, that on slippery ground
they alone possess life while living,
as long as is possible, and as best as is possible.
But for me easy grief's loathsome,
and the easy solace of what's easily replaced;
if I'm no more, they'll replace me soon.
I know, if I'm no more, they'll have someone else,
who'll lie in their beds for me,
pant, talk, suffer, love.
But why shouldn't it be this way? It might
need to be this way— why expect the unexpectable,
the too hard, the too much?... I understand.
And yet, for me, it's irreplaceable
and what used to be dear doesn't stop being dear.
And it is still too early to love the new kitten.
I don't put it in my lap, because the old one's
absence still burns there. I know
if I'm no more, there'll be someone else.
|Copyright © 2010 by Michael Blumenthal and Pleasure Boat Studio. Used by permission of the translator.|