We are living

This poem was written in 2005 as part of a dialogue series with Japanese poet Hiroshi Sasaki (Keiji Minato, translator). It was later published in my collection We Will Disappear. Läs på svenska.

Once I disappeared through a window you
Left open. I went back to the space where we
Once lived. You said don’t come back. 

We returned after dark to the place where
Lights were kept. You lost your way amongst things
We had forgotten about. I said don’t worry. 

Are we living or just walking around? You
Perceived the darkness in my words. Perhaps we
Are only pretending to breathe, I thought. 

Living things flew around us. Somewhere
I could hear singing. The lights came on like a 
Living, breathing eye. You blinked, once. 

We closed the window. Sounds switched 
Off like eyes or lives. Then in that darkness 
We held out our hands. Where were we? 

Are you listening? Can you concentrate
On this final instruction? Make sure your eyes
Are open. Can you see the way ahead?  

No thing answered. Sight disappeared.
Drawing cryptic crosses on the invisible walls 
No human hand had touched, I breathed. 

Longer than the night, our journey was
Repeated under stars. Your sighs were even
Longer than lifetimes. We didn’t breathe. 

Dead as a frosted bough, or the bird,
Your footsteps ceased. The silence, like a 
Dead bell in a building. I didn’t worry. 

Once we are living we are no longer
Dead. I whispered these words to myself.
Once upon a time, you still breathed. 

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