Journal Entry: Sat Dec 5, 2009, 9:02 PM
I haven't given up counting the days. So many days before you, during which silence lined the streets as if to welcome a great army that was going to save the city. The days you didn't come, when so much darkness fell from my useless hands. But I have known days when you came in like the armful of flowers that one throws in through the garden door, and sometimes I believed that you only ever left when night had fallen. And there were some days as well, fine long days as knowing as a pair of lowered eyes, when evening smoldered inexhaustibly like an ember under the ashes. You are not out of reach forever, and sometimes I have been very close to you. I remember the ending of one day, an island lapped by tenderness. In the high-ceilinged silent room where evening rose like the sea, interminably, love pressed its brow against me, nudging gently, like a wavelet against a rock.
Your life, when you are no longer there, breaks around me with the treachery of the moonless waves, like an ocean full of snares and surprises around a stranded hull. Because of you I am lost at sea. On the tall phosphorescent wave that breaks against the cliffs of the streets at the moment when lights come on all over town, your scent lingers like the folds of an ensign, like the smell of seaweed and musk on dangerous seas. You change the signs. You are smooth as ashore offered like a virgin to the tide that has come to her at night. Your purity is indescribable. I love you like those sacred statues machine-gunned by sand-storms. You only ever came back to me bathed in the sea.
On the wide open sea of my thoughts that follow you and call out to you, there's the advancing tide of the street where your hand is torn from mine as from a riverbank, the street that throws you towards me in the backwash of slammed doors, the street you flow through like a dark thought in sleep, the high tide of the street that muddies your tracks. You trouble my sleep like the going down of a bad moon, like the dream the shipwrecked sailor dreams on a shore where the flood tide gathers strength. You will never be from here. In the darkness wrapped in my arms, there is this other darkness that lifts towards untroubled dawns, its stars already rising over the sea. My ear against your heart, in the heart of the night, I lie in wait for a break in your intent listening, the imperturbable murmur of the shell that has known the ocean, I watch, under your closed lashes, for a spark, returned from a distant star, the awakening of your hand, as secretive as the handle of a door.
I've walked with you along the paths of the sacred mountain. I had carried you off to my eyrie, that you might adorn with flowers the hollow pinnacle that only pushes up granite shoots onto the rock-shrouded in the hanging folds of its shrine, that you might know your love has covered me up onto the summit where there is no firm footing to be found, toonly live there leaning on you. I picked a wild iris for you that was growing among the stones and the garden was quieter than a convent garden from which we gazed at the sea rising on the shore, and the clouds scudding over the sea: there, I held you tightly in my arms, I recovered as one who drops anchor: remember the mild and cloistered day remember that I love you in peace. Remember that for one day and one whole night I held you against my heart remember the rockin the middle of the waves remember if I've lost you that I'm all at sea, calling to you with the muffled sound of the fog-warning bell that I stand firm and that I watch over the empty space where you were like this stark rampart that slashes the shore and like these salty stones remember the closed room and the shut postern remember the faithful blood and the well-guarded fortress remember the bread and the shared night remember the archangel that slays the dragon.
Translated by Alan Jenkins