I put some words on the table; and I leave
people to help themselves, to peel off slivers, syllable
by syllable, bringing them to their mouths—where the words
are attached once more, then fall back on the table.
This is how we talk together. Exchanging
words; stealing others, when we don’t have the words
we need; offering words, when we see that there are
too many. In every conversation there are too many words.
But there are some words that stay on the table, when
we leave. At night they grow cold again; if a window
opens, a breath of wind scatters them on the ground. Tomorrow
the maid will sweep their dust into the refuse.
Also, before leaving, I look to see if any words
are left on the table; I slip them into my pocket, without
anyone noticing. Then I pack them away in the drawer of the poem.
One day, these words will find their use.
(Translated by Karen Press)