By | 13 May 2024

You had to go far
inside the eye of a grasshopper,
under tilting polar ice packs,
under the taut shoulders of women
rushing home, slinging a satchel
of rice and vegetables into their haste,
and then go further slipping
between the electric wires that snake
their way through the frames of houses,
under the composite skin
of old photographs —

all this to see
the smallest fragment
of who you are.

But this is barely a beginning.

How do you put a fish into a poem?
Not the label ‘fish’, the mere name,
for that would solve nothing
and a bundle of names can’t swim
in even the shallowest water —
but a fish swimming fast,
we can’t grasp it even with our hands.

Yet in a poem the water
swims even faster than the fish
and we glide, almost effortless, through the water
as through doors leading far inside us.

And if I place a jellyfish, the Turritopsis dohrnii for instance,
inside my poem
what happens then?
Will my room glow
so brightly I will be unable to leave,
shedding my worn-out skin
to stay in its company?

When at last you float on your side
and between the slats of the sauna
the sky slips away
you don’t scream at the void
for robbing you of daylight —
even the smallest grassblades know
they cannot shrink their way
into timelessness.

A long way further than us a fig tree
reaches out,
its green-brown mountainscape of roots
so joyful to climb
for a young grasshopper.

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