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Published January 2000Become a subscriber
The night was so multiple it couldn’t possibly end Electricity-the quick outline of a misshapen animal— jumped from house to sky and then to a third and stranger place beyond our senses Rain drummed on the roof like a horde of garrulous gnomes that hummed and hammered in their microscopic messages of nonsense When the noise thinned down to a single vertical river I knew: the rain had taken shelter in the waterfall above You were sad for you love nothing more than rain on the roof We uttered simple words like blowing long shapes out of glass to stir the thick phlegm of newly formed silence Silence of course remained unstirred The room filled with a select crowd. Everyone was there: cripples from the past, supermen from the future (and vice-versa) icon-faced lessons with disapproving lips. They didn’t say a word We were suddenly among chipped shadows We tried to remain whole by lying very still and thinking of nothing From that third and stranger place we were being watched with terrible longing the place was later found to be Memory When the night ended, it was like the end of an era
After the multiple night came the single night In the single night there was A single window and in it A single outline of a mountain A single star above the mountain A watch pushing single-handedly each moment towards the window’s edge And not a single shadow Not a single memory Not a single hope Yet it was no different from other nights It was the same window, mountain, star, watch, moments Even the waterfall was there, minimally We were no different from ourselves You — sleeping aridly like a desert where I pitched my Bedouin tent And I — with my worry beads, not minding Really there was no reason why poverty spilled its gentle acid over that night burning the beginning into the end No reason why we found a beggar’s dawn so full of holes there was almost nothing left of it
Kapka Kassabova’s poetry appears in HEAT Series 1.Read more