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Icy Occasions

The hail in May on a road in Israel
that leads to the southernmost point of the country
is taken for an unusual event
while the sea-cats displayed to the tourists
--above sea level--
in pools constructed for this effect
don't disturb in the least our absent-minded waiting
for rare and fugitive signs of life

this bar in the Place de Bastille has a reputation too shady
for the celebration of a touchy friend's new book
this feeling raises in an untimely fashion
each person's level of complaint
so that at the same moment another friend
felt insulted by my overly familiar remarks

the wrapping paper carefully preserved
in a hidden nook full of handy things
prevents our passing with glad heart through
the dead seasons when there are no celebrations
it might be used again but without
our being there and knowing how to fold it without mistake

(translation © James Brook)