It rained all night and the first snow
showed up in the morning. But the café
is cozy. You can sip hot coffee and
look out the window at the street. The whiteness
emphasizes shapes, movements, the day’s subtle
mechanics. Here on the terrace, last summer
there was a huge video screen. Now it’s just
an empty steel square. Quite by chance
it frames the winter: a cloud of steam
from the hotel kitchen, a VW backs up
its tailpipe scattering a flock of pigeons,
an old woman with a red market bag
slides along the sidewalk, streetcars cross
paths before the army barracks, and over there
in the corner, a lonely child.
The movie of the day winds on, all by itself,
without apparent effort, affording you a chance
to forget for a moment that your own eye’s gravity
and the empty steel frame
are all that keeps your country in one piece.
Translated by Wayles Browne – © 2008 Wayles Browne
The preceding text is copyright of the author and/or translator and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.