Roles

Folded, cold, in thick disguise, she shakes
her head, bends over him, where he has taken
residence on the path, eyes half-closed:
‘I do not kiss statues. There will be

no more garden. You must learn to
welcome me, you who are deep in dreams.’
I run downstairs, not touching the banisters,
following her following him deeper

into the garden, now full of dry, split
leaves, some floating by in the current
of an icy stream, their sorrow pulled away
under a mossy bridge. He has crossed

to the other side. There remains
only the story of the way, where we lose
ourselves in the spaces as they appear
slipping through our fingers, open and bright.

 

 

 

 

Tenants

This betrayal does not mean my promise
did not exist. You take the key, still there
under the stone by the back door. Lost
among the lumber we turn defenceless,

make a search of the room again. A fly’s
flickering against the window testifies
to its dream of elsewhere. In dim light
you kiss me, in this place we have entered

so rashly.  The slant sun’s silvering
dismantles our memories. In your breath
in the cold, is a picture of the world.
There’s a feeling of something different

on the other side, where every piece
of the story would fit, where from cut
to cut the stills of the film of our lives
would become like our tears believable.

 

 

 

 

Wakening

Deep on our island, we dream of being
discovered by a long and perilous route.
It never ends: the sea journey, the story
told just for the darkness, even if later

nothing adds up at the edge of the waves.
Before us dissolves the boundary where
water meets land. Our lives no longer have
a shape, only an endless stretching away.

The more we speak of them, the less real
they seem. The old times have to wait,
though the same report, the means of return,
line our faces. They can only deepen

like a final judgment from a distance
which closes. Yet at sunrise, voyagers may
emerge in a slow light beyond the brink
while the water breathes at our feet.

 

 


[Ian Seed’s collections of poetry and prose poetry include The Underground Cabaret (Shearsman, 2020), Operations of Water (Knives, Forks & Spoons Press, 2020), and New York Hotel (Shearsman, 2018), which was a TLS Book of the Year. The Thief of Talant, the first translation into English of Pierre Reverdy’s hybrid novel, Le voleur de Talan, was published by Wakefield Press (US) in 2016. Ian’s translation of Max Jacob’s collection of prose poems, The Dice Cup, was published by Wakefield Press (US) in October 2022. Most recently, he has a chapbook, I Remember, out from Red Ceilings Press.]

 

 

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