On my back I carried the coffin in which my father lay.
Bent low by its weight, I staggered forward step by step.
My pace slowed, the burden was too great, it was beyond
me. Carefully I lowered myself full-length to the ground,
slid out from under the coffin, raised the lid without
hesitating and whispered, Father, I can’t carry you. I’m
sorry. Could you maybe walk a little?

It took him a while to open his eyes. His face was unshaven,
his hair tousled. He was wearing long johns and a white
vest. Then he sighed and shook his head, mocking and
pitying at once, like always. He sat up, climbed out of the
coffin and moved on with calm steps. I walked along behind
him and I too said nothing.

The coffin remained where it was, in the middle of the path.

We reached the grave, which was already dug. Without a
word he settled down, lying on his side, then turning over to
lie on the other side.

His god wants him to face east, I thought, towards Mecca.
Fortunately he didn’t ask me which way east was, because I
didn’t know.

He folded his hands together, slid them under his head as a
pillow, sighed deeply again and closed his eyes, and I, I fell to
my knees, threw my arms back and began to fill the grave.

 

Making love in a summer oak,
a couple of times a couple of seconds,
flurrying off while she shakes herself,
arranges her feathers.

Walking on trunks, going up,
going down, hanging off twigs
upside-down,
pecking buds,

hopping along branches. Scratching
around treetops, under bushes,
in a muddy puddle.
Is my darling nesting?

I bring her dark earth.
Is she brooding? I feed her
caterpillars picked out
from between the leaves.

Oh, never falling prey to aporias,
phobias, crippling fantasies of
omnipotence and impotence, intoxicating
suffocating addictive

solitude, the susceptibility
that eats away at my jaw,
escapism. But battling blackbirds!
Cursing a sparrow!

Drinking rain, singing
with a beak full of ants,
a beak full of ants. Oh,
no darker or less

illuminating than yours,
hole-nester, is the spring
that gave rise to me!
What is that heart-rending

quiet hubbub? In the nesting box
my young are learning to fly.
Oh, some six weeks of family life
and then hup

banish those kids. (And display
some strange behaviour sometimes,
suddenly smearing my droppings out
over a dead branch.)