Body and Soul Superimposed

The New Republic

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POETRY DECEMBER 3, 2013

Body and Soul Superimposed

    In the bedroom the sick mind and the prone body. 
    The flame pierces. 
    The triangle of the lamp on the ceiling lines up with
the next room. 
    When all the pains are parallel, there’s no escape. 
    When there’s no hope for anything but the last drop,
the last instant, the chain is lifted. 
I examine the triangle with a vision distorted by fe-
ver and by heartbeats that guide the danger. 
    On the wall opposite the mirror—that icy black 
abyss ruled by a threatening void and an equally threat-
ening silence: the likelihood of every possible lacera- 
tion—I can glimpse blessed landscapes smiling under 
sunbeams, luminous bells, shouts filling the air, many 
different colors, brilliant gusts against an overloaded
sky. 
    But within the oval holding my whole countenance
frozen, my memory anxious, lacerated, spent by con- 
stantly renewed efforts—just then I have the precise 
notion of time regained, of someone coming, and the 
limit of our chaotic movements in that narrow space 
already renewed.

Translated by Richard Howard 

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