Reading Eliot Aloud

Was the first perversion
in my virginal room
that looked out on a lilac bush
in April and throughout
the whole sleepy year here,
where the women

Did not come and go
talking of Michelangelo,
but hurried to sprinkle ashes
on their foreheads
and pay homage to the Magi

At the manger, a plaster figure
arranged in the hay,
in the very dead of winter.
When I give voice
to your words,

I’m like  the local stigmatic
babbling in ecstasy.
You have no outlet, Mr. Eliot,
except through me,
your Hollow one, your Shadow,

Speaking in an unexpected alto,
my accent—what of it?—
soft and foreign,
since you’re only a patient
wakened briefly

From anesthesia
like this suburban evening
steeped in yellow fog,
resounding with the clatter
of my high heels

And this voice,
mon semblable, mon frère,
praying out loud
in the middle of this empty street:
“Let us go then, you and I.”

May 2, 2012

Translated by Karen Kovacik