Call yourself alive? Look, I promise you

that for the first time you’ll feel your pores opening

like fish mouths, and you’ll actually be able to hear

your blood surging though all those lanes,

and you’ll feel light gliding across the cornea

like the train of a dress. For the first time

you’ll be aware of gravity

like a thorn in your heel,

and your shoulder blades will ache for want of wings.

Call yourself alive? I promise you

you’ll be deafened by the sound of dust falling on furniture,

you’ll feel your eyebrows turning to two gashes,

and every memory you have–will begin

at Genesis.


(translated from the Romanian by Brenda Walker and Adrea Deletant, published in Joy: 100 Poems edited by Christian Wimen)

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