FOR PAUL CELAN
You shiver on rooftops.
When it is cold I watch
slivers of icicles dripping slowly. Then stopping,
you sing to us. Even after
you swam deep into that still lake
I hear your voice, I see the eyes of
those you remember, singing behind
the dismissive shock, the cold black grates.
I think of typhus,
little broken cups
insolent worms, iced fingertips
black-caked with dust
of early age. The days
all black with soot and hell.
rising in the sky
above proliferate ashes,
so very many times.
I dreamt I met with you
in those clouds,
brought perennial herbs, smooth blankets
white milk, clean skin
a bath, some French
and undisturbed German.
We turned back the language, you and I
like hands on a clock.
We hid up there
in the sky, turned those numbers back
so there could be none left. I created
new languages with you, we sang
unmentionable words as if
we could ever touch those dreams.