from With Death, an Orange Segment between Our Teeth

Marie-Claire Bancquart


The equivocal gesture of the grandfather
at death's door
turning a hand toward his loved ones:
goodbye, or scorn?

Between the dead man and the young girl in mourning
the hours secretly turn aside.

Leaning toward him she divines
her own epitaph:

Fate followed me step by step
like a lover.

But an assassin follows the same way


          The shout, the abyss alongside, the eager breathlessness: behold our anxieties—the exhilaration of our loves, as well.
          Orpheus, torn to pieces by the Bacchae, recalled Eurydice at the height of pleasure. The same lightning lit their faces.


Spelling a word murmured by our capillaries

the blood that pulses at our wrist

loving a dilation of the veins

in our long voyage:

laid end to end
all our blood vessels
go twice around the earth.

your insects, your flowers, your deities,
have you arranged them along these routes?

translated from the French by Wendeline A. Hardenberg