after Jules Supervielle

         —Do not touch the shoulder
         of the man who passes you
         on the corner. You must cross
         the street and follow him with
         your eyes, east seeing west,
         and west east. He will turn
         his head and dusk will rise
         from the dark pavement
         to blur the stars. Glance
         at the cloudless sky curving
         above you. Each of you must
         follow your circular paths;
         let him pass you again. If he greets
         you, shake his hand and look
         into his eyes. Sit with him.
         Allow him to touch you and
         to place his mouth against yours.
         Leave him there, quiet and clear
         in the dark and starlight.
         —But then what would become
         of these trees and their branches,
         our ceiling under the sky?
         What’s to become of the
         street lamps hanging over us
         like low moons passing through
         the sky at the pace of our steps?
         And the sound of tomorrow’s
         daybreak? That crackling of
         the horizon burning its long fuse?
         The noisy sun?
         —You would have to wait
         and keep waiting. Another
         man might finally pass. He
         would have to be as strong
         and as determined as the first.
         He will be able to seduce you,
         be able to restore you, if only he
         would bring all these back
         to you, if only he will consent to.

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