Call yourself alive?

Temptation

Call yourself alive? Look, I promise you
that for the first time you’ll feel your pores opening
like fish mouths, and you’ll actually be able to hear
your blood surging through all those lanes,
and you’ll feel light gliding across the cornea
like the train of a dress. For the first time
you’ll be aware of gravity
like a thorn in your heel,
and your shoulder blades will ache for want of wings.
Call yourself alive? I promise you
you’ll be deafened by dust falling on the furniture,
you’ll feel your eyebrows turning to two gashes,
and every memory you have – will begin
at Genesis.

Nina Cassian.

© Ardis, 1983; Oxford Univ. Press, 1993
translated from the Romanian by Brenda Walker & Andrea Deletant

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