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:


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