You asked me what had happened and then where we were going.
I told you at this point that there was nothing left to do
and then we looked at each other and we wondered
what we were talking about, which was our objective,
which was the matter – and we saw our noses
how deep they were we put our hands inside
as we were digging: you in your new bag, I into the sea.
And as we were digging in our noses – with our nostrils
open to smell the bodies that we had flared
in silence with jackknife dives you yelled at me from the depths
of my nose and I called you from the depth of your nose
and I asked you – and you asked me, too, I think:
WHAT WE WERE TALKING ABOUT – DO YOU REMEMBER?
I started the conversation by talking about your eyes and
and then as I am shy in the end I moved
the topic on to your nose, and now look at us, we are lost
in our noses – sniffing like dogs in the butts,
in the noses, in the dark corners of the places we hang out at
feeling they are ours even if we actually ignore them, here we are
inside the nose we have taken distance from the world
getting lost in this deep conversation, and you, keep smelling,
although I have not washed myself, yet, at this point you’ve gone
so deep into the nose that you can feel where things start
before they are smelled, and then forgotten just like
what I told you about the smell of your eyes.
Poem by Alessandro Burbank
Translated by Vera Linder and Kiran Chaudhuri