PUEDO ESCRIBIR LOS VERSOS MAS TRISTES ESTA NOCHE
(Tonight I can write the saddest verses)
I can write, for example: “The night is shining;
stars tremble, blue, in the distance.”
I loved her,
sometimes she loved me.
On nights like this I held her in my arms,
kissing her under the sky.
She loved me,
sometimes I loved her.
Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.
To think I don’t have her.
To know I’ve lost her.
To hear the vast night,
more vast without her.
And verse falls like dew on grass.
So what if my love couldn’t keep her.
The night is shining and she’s not with me.
That is all.
In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
The same night makes the same trees whiten.
We are not as we were.
I don’t love her now,
but how I used to love her.
Love is brief, unlike forgetting.
On nights like this I held her in my arms.
But this is the last pain she’ll give me,
and these the last verses I’ll write to her.
After Jane Hirshfield’s ‘Each morning my neighbor walks out’
In the morning my Polish flatmate
walks into the kitchen and peers into the fridge,
some days for milk, some days for jam.
He has his back to me; I can’t see his face.
I wouldn’t know if he was disappointed, finding
nothing his own under a jumble of groceries.
He looks for a moment in my direction
watching me eat the Weetabix I stow under my bed,
then turns to go back to his room
where he’ll spend the rest of the day unwitnessed.
Between us the empty chairs, an empty Absolut bottle.
Between us a sea of untranslatable words,
sometimes his, sometimes my own.
She steps out of Bond Street tube and suddenly
the six-o’clock November sky is full of snow.
He hugs her sideways, offers to take her suitcase.
‘Starbucks?’ he says, and then, ‘Sorry.’
Outside, flakes fatten; the sky deepens.
He turns, balancing coffee mugs, to find her
framed in the window’s blindness.
Muted by a café full of intimate exchanges,
they talk of everything unimportant.
Passers-by might see her place her right hand,
palm down, on the table between them.
Her suitcase leaves tracks that overlap
their footprints; cheeks and chest flushed,
she will shiver the way back to the tube station.
Later, she will take off her wet blue dress.