The Lane
(after Jules Supervielle)

—Do not touch the shoulder
of the man who passes you
on the corner. You must cross
the street and follow him with
your eyes, east seeing west,
and west east. He will turn
his head and dusk will rise
from the dark pavement
to blur the stars. Glance
at the cloudless sky curving
above you. Each of you must
follow your circular paths;
let him pass you again. If he greets
you, shake his hand and look
into his eyes. Sit with him.
Allow him to touch you and
to place his mouth against yours.
Leave him there, quiet and clear
in the dark and starlight.
—But then what would become
of these trees and their branches,
our ceiling under the sky?
What’s to become of the
street lamps hanging over us
like low moons passing through
the sky at the pace of our steps?
And the sound of tomorrow’s
daybreak? That crackling of
the horizon burning its long fuse?
The noisy sun?
—You would have to wait
and keep waiting. Another
man might finally pass. He
would have to be as strong
and as determined as the first.
He will be able to seduce you,
be able to restore you, if only he
would bring all these back
to you, if only he will consent to.


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