from Thicket

Ulrike Almut Sandig

no. it's not about you. it's about

the gulls in summer, the gulls
in swarms, it's about harmless
gulls, it's not about you. but all
the gulls had such little faces
just like you. they flew straight
above my house where you won't
return. but no, it's never about

the gulls! it's about the laundry
in the garden that hangs in the sun
and dries far too fast. it's about
the weather, it's about everything
that can be named, about things
like sun, like winter, like wind
all the birds, and it's also about
the dog that we had, that once
in the park, I think it was far from
the sea, once barked at all the gulls
for so long till all across the sky

not one living thing could be found.

in my eyes the others sit and see everything
that I see. I only see what I can see. at night

I see the marten in the floodlights, underneath
the foxglove tree in the yard, see him motionless

becoming invisible in the fading light. I don't see
any comets. no satellites. I don't see anything

except the slivered moon and my own image
on the pane. by day I see the quickly blurred

green in the garden behind the yard, the pigeon's
mechanical nodding, always on the same bush

and I also see the plane on a training sortie above.
I hardly see the others and they hardly see me.

they sit firmly inside me. 

this is the way back from the street to the winter

'38. the small, simple curtain of history:
a child-high gate in the iron railing, six steps
down to the parched brook near by the zoo.

waiting two days there, standing with stars and
being stared at in broad daylight. later finally
to the station and the cars, there the first ones

fell like flies, like chaff. still later the woods made
of birches + birches + snow. there this story ends
but here is the passage. here everything starts STOP

translated from the German by Bradley Schmidt