Where the River Turns

Co-translator: Polly Clark


here    a form opens on the sheen of the water
two oily blue wings    fanning out
an autumn that never truly reaches you

an autumn that is here forever    where the river turns
the season again becomes part of you
your eyes    abandoned by all they see

no single thing lasts for long    a bench
sinks deep into its own nature    lost in thinking
the river is carved with tiny cliffs against the light
the ripples splinter like porcelain
and grow together again    the reeds’ candle-hearts are a shadow-pattern
thrown against the bank    and the bank    drifts out from your heart

the sky’s fresh scent excites the dead
as if answering to a conductor’s cold and beautiful gesture


here    water spreads from two directions    two flashbacks
where the river turns    a man turns away from the passage of time

and the names dug into the bench’s back become his
sunlight turns away from the afternoon’s dazzling geography

the warmths of other bodies which sat here remember you
the stains of dried-out waters record the dusk

spewed-out    bloodied
the shuttered eye of a crow stares into this moment    from two deaths

the arms of women in a rowing boat drive toward two finishes
swans forced by invisible hunger

slip in beside the river’s scented flesh    you exist at the point of a fish bone
the pasts in two directions are both empty


here    a bird hunted down a marsh
for a grave    its skull snow white and exquisite
like a thought that has given up flying
the day let you sink below its surface
the sweet sound of water immersed you to your brow
hearing became a cave
the river opened a silk screen
the body that spooned the sky now changes at the speed of light
wetness becomes part of you again    but it is a stranger to water
a wet window sieved from the bottom of the river    the wild bush
sucks the beating heart and empty eye socket away

the sky’s blue violence like a skullcap placed down

the distant place that can never be reached
forever advances through wings and feet
death is sealed in a crystal box on the bookshelf
the far waterfall hooks you back into air


here    the river turns    the ice-pink bush turns
hear the reed cutter    cutting back what is not dark enough
stars turn to the side we cannot see
all of them in human shape

compound eyes reproduce across the sky
the vast expanse of city lights    surfaces from deep inside your body
cracks criss-cross the water as if from an origin

that has just been rewritten for you
the one you cannot help but accept

this swarming rain
that can never reach a real night
is forever the most terrified species

the horizon turns away    you have endless blank waters

the water waves like a drowned hand

stillness becomes part of your skin again    the pearl light is full of the river
it gives you here    pours to the brim the countless wheres
it gives drunkenness a form    on the hill in the darkness
it wears a golden mask    seagulls mirror the invisible sea
like broken white crosses    nailed above your head

a drop of rain stings the universe
wash    this pair of ears, torn off and deaf
bear your burden    this transgressed boundary of flesh