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You Put Yourself in Danger of the Night

last line of a recitative listened to with one ear
glimpse of the wanderer by the wanderer
door secretly left ajar

you are immobile abstracted impalpable
but you keep an eye out
for the stranger who cloaks herself in her verse

yes there is a stranger in each line
which you alone have heard
in the empty dining room
one stranger in the middle of the night
and another at the break of day

the poem endures the whole night long
is made to endure in your place
if you are absent it goes on
you can make the night end
only by listening to the stranger
who speaks in your mother tongue
without your being able to understand her

(translation © James Brook)