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Talking to My Body by Anna Swir
You will not tame this sea
either by humility or rapture.
But you can laugh
in its face.

was invented by those
who live briefly
as a burst of laughter.

The eternal sea
will never learn to laugh.
Look in the mirror. Let us both look.
Here is my naked body.
Apparently you like it,
I have no reason to.
Who bound us, me and my body?
Why must I die
together with it?
I have the right to know where the borderline  
between us is drawn.
Where am I, I, I myself.

Belly, am I in the belly? In the intestines?  
In the hollow of the ***? In a toe?
Apparently in the brain. I do not see it.
Take my brain out of my skull. I have the right  
to see myself. Don’t laugh.
That’s macabre, you say.

It’s not me who made
my body.
I wear the used rags of my family,  
an alien brain, fruit of chance, hair  
after my grandmother, the nose
glued together from a few dead noses.  
What do I have in common with all that?  
What do I have in common with you, who like  
my knee, what is my knee to me?

I would have chosen a different model.

I will leave both of you here,
my knee and you.
Don’t make a wry face, I will leave you all my body  
to play with.
And I will go.
There is no place for me here,
in this blind darkness waiting for
I will run out, I will race
away from myself.
I will look for myself  
like crazy
till my last breath.

One must hurry
before death comes. For by then  
like a dog ****** by its chain
I will have to return
into this stridently suffering body.  
To go through the last
most strident ceremony of the body.

Defeated by the body,
slowly annihilated because of the body

I will become kidney failure
or the gangrene of the large intestine.  
And I will expire in shame.

And the universe will expire with me,  
reduced as it is
to a kidney failure
and the gangrene of the large intestine.
One must be brave to live through  
a day. What remains
is nothing but the pleasure of longing—very precious.

purifies as does flying, strengthens as does an effort,  
it fashions the soul
as work
fashions the belly.

It is like an athlete, like a runner  
who will never
stop running. And this
gives him endurance.

is nourishing for the strong.  
It is like a window
on a high tower, through which  
blows the wind of strength.

Virginity of happiness.
She was an evil stepmother.
In her old age she is slowly dying
in an empty hovel.

She shudders
like a clutch of burnt paper.
She does not remember that she was evil.
But she knows
that she feels cold.
Our embrace lasted too long.
We loved right down to the bone.  
I hear the bones grind, I see  
our two skeletons.

Now I am waiting
till you leave, till
the clatter of your shoes
is heard no more. Now, silence.

Tonight I am going to sleep alone  
on the bedclothes of purity.
is the first hygienic measure.  
will enlarge the walls of the room,  
I will open the window
and the large, frosty air will enter,  
healthy as tragedy.
Human thoughts will enter
and human concerns,
misfortune of others, saintliness of others.  
They will converse softly and sternly.

Do not come anymore.  
I am an animal  
very rarely.
Happy as something unimportant  
and free as a thing unimportant.  
As something no one prizes
and which does not prize itself.  
As something mocked by all
and which mocks at their mockery.  
As laughter without serious reason.  
As a yell able to out yell itself.  
Happy as no matter what,
as any no matter what.

as a dog’s tail.
I am not born as yet,
five minutes before my birth.  
I can still go back
into my unbirth.
Now it’s ten minutes before,  
now, it’s one hour before birth.  
I go back,
I run
into my minus life.

I walk through my unbirth as in a tunnel  
with bizarre perspectives.
Ten years before,
a hundred and fifty years before,
I walk, my steps thump,
a fantastic journey through epochs  
in which there was no me.

How long is my minus life,
nonexistence so much resembles immortality.

Here is Romanticism, where I could have been a spinster,  
Here is the Renaissance, where I would have been
an ugly and unloved wife of an evil husband,
The Middle Ages, where I would have carried water in a tavern.

I walk still further,  
what an echo,  
my steps thump
through my minus life,  
through the reverse of life.  
I reach Adam and Eve,
nothing is seen anymore, it’s dark.
Now my nonexistence dies already
with the trite death of mathematical fiction.
As trite as the death of my existence would have been  
had I been really born.
There are moments
when I feel more clearly than ever
that I am in the company
of my own person.
This comforts and reassures me,
this heartens me,
just as my tridimensional body
is heartened by my own authentic shadow.

There are moments
when I really feel more clearly than ever  
that I am in the company
of my own person.

I stop
at a street corner to turn left
and I wonder what would happen
if my own person walked to the right.

Until now that has not happened  
but it does not settle the question.
She is sixty. She lives
the greatest love of her life.

She walks arm-in-arm with her dear one,  
her hair streams in the wind.
Her dear one says:
“You have hair like pearls.”

Her children say:  
“Old fool.”
One white daisy
and my two closed eyes.
These shield us from the world
As a child
I put my finger in the fire  
to become
a saint.

As a teenager
every day I would knock my head against the wall.

As a young girl
I went out through a window of a garret  
to the roof
in order to jump.

As a woman
I had lice all over my body.
They cracked when I was ironing my sweater.

I waited sixty minutes  
to be executed.
I was hungry for six years.

Then I bore a child,  
they were carving me  
without putting me to sleep.

Then a thunderbolt killed me
three times and I had to rise from the dead three times  
without anyone’s help.

Now I am resting
after three resurrections.

— The End —