I will never know the distance from the lips
to the nose or from the spark to the fire-lit ground.
We are always less than that we have most
beautifully done and everything else, ungrateful,
we forget. From the spelling we take
the hippocras wine, from the cold the water, from the fire
the vapours of braised partridge.
If I look at my nameless self and see me
in a name to which I bring everything and nothing, I taste,
bud by bud, the fruit, the slicing of the stone,
the harsh cut of the sickle. I am the loudness
of what I hear, the blindness of what I eat and, when
I drink, my body is abandoned to a deadly
sleep that I turn in another direction.
But were I to see light inside a palate
of even sentences and congenial warmth,
let then the tongue be loosened in my mouth, the hair
of my head, let the forbidden memory
be torn, veil of a softly fastened line of silver
thread with fennel beads, and let me sleep,
lips and pleasure, on the breast of my beloved.