winter came, stretched its frames,
wove misty threads into the damp
wood. fogged windows, we didn’t
recognise each other by our arms
which were too big, too baggy, all
borrowed onesies, into which we would grow, if they fitted us,
which, eventually, they will. would.
a verb like the sound of sleeves over
wet glass. like wet sleeves in a mouth,
sucking. through the frames we saw
snow portraits of mothers in parks,
wind-ruffled, on the verge of, but held
by ribbons, which led to hats, in der
mitte of gloves. saw the supply-threads
of winter, linty. and tested our roles,
tentatively, along the midlines of mittens.
what is a domicile? a domicile is a star-
crossed ten of clubs. what is a crossing?
in the flubbed dialect of these forests
a crossing is the word tree. and why
do homelands play cards in the air? no one
ever saw the homelands go home. a tree
in the forest of neighbouring languages
is a club in this suit. out of its wood
someone makes crosses on a map.
the countries fill in their domicile and
put the stationery back into its pencil
case. what is stationary? put it back.
with nelly sachs
These poems were selected for inclusion in the 2017 Translation Issue by Daniel Medin, a contributing editor of The White Review. He is Associate Director for the Center for Writers and Translators at the American University of Paris, and an editor for The Cahiers Series and Music & Literature.