here are the miracle-signs you want: that
you cry through the night and get up at dawn, asking,
that in the absence of what you ask for your day gets dark,
your neck thin as a spindle, that what you give away
is all you own, that you sacrifice belongings,
sleep, health, your head, that you often
sit down in a fire like aloes wood, and often go out
to meet a blade like a battered helmet.
when acts of helplessness become habitual,
those are the signs.
but you run back and forth listening for unusual events,
peering into the faces of travelers.
“why are you looking at me like a madman?”
i have lost a friend. please forgive me.
searching like that does not fail.
there will come a rider who holds you close.
you faint and gibber. the uninitiated say, “he’s faking.”
how could they know?
water washes over a beached fish, the water
of those signs I just mentioned.
excuse my wandering.
how can one be orderly with this?
it’s like counting leaves in a garden,
along with the song-notes of partridges,
and computation become absurd.
of these two thousand “i” and “we” people,
which am i?
don’t try to keep me from asking?
listen, when i’m out of control!
but don’t put anything breakable in my way!
there is an original inside me.
what’s here is a mirror for that, for you.
if you are joyful, i am.
if you grieve, or if you’re bitter, or graceful,
i take on those qualities.
like the shadow of a cypress tree in the meadow,
like the shadow of a rose, i live
close to the nose.
if i separated myself from you,
i would turn entirely thorn.
every second, i drink another cup of my own blood-wine.
every instant, i break an empty cup against your door.
i reach out, wanting you to tear me open.
saladin’s generosity lights a candle in my chest.
who am i then?
his empty begging bow.
late, by myself, in the boat of myself,
no light and no land anywhere,
cloudcover thick. i try to stay
just above the surface, yet i’m already under
and living within the ocean.
does sunset sometimes look like the sun’s coming up?
do you know what a faithful love is like?
you’re crying. you say you’ve burned yourself.
but can you think of anyone who’s not hazy with smoke?