v e r s t s
for Marina Tsvetayeva
: m a r k m u r p h y
We must eat our fill when we can,
though the stomach shrinks with grief and hunger.
We must assert ourselves bodily,
though not a soul would listen to our sad pronouncements.
We know how many journeys end in tears,
but we know our feet must tread the weary path.
We know the age of lust must have its monsters,
but we know our woe cannot last forever.
When I am dead, my heart adrift on its last journey,
I will be as powerless to take shelter with you
as any other man seeking comfort in your caresses,
and though we would await the new century
in our lonely rooms, we would not wish
to leave pity as our only embrace.
Time carries all our secrets to the grave,
and love, in its own way, takes care of the dead.
Marina, we will meet somewhere in time,
and half the world will smile like me and you.
We will not sleep then, until the dawn sun,
like gentle rain, assuages all our fears.
I lift my skinny fists like antennas to heaven.
I look in your pure direction.
I kiss you once again, for old time’s sake.
I am a man who does not wish to die.