The Clarity of Darkness

Claes Andersson

I am the eye that makes light visible
I am the birds' quick shadows in the foliage, before
             they are gone
I am the colors of autumn and the blue whirl of wind
I am the mute girl who gives the picture its depth
I am the one who touches and the one who is touched
I am warmth and chill, friendship, the open hand
             and the promises of night
I am the storm and the calm and the seasons of the year
I am the melancholy in your face
I am the blossoming apple tree and the birds on
             your bare shoulders
I am the rushing waters and the clouds
I am the killer, the silence of the victim and forgiveness of the dead
I am life that goes on all the time that it's ending
I am the graveyard of abused ideologies
I am the heart of time, the depth of the earth and the fleetingness of love

We sat down and began to eat the
           dead animals
We ate with our hands quick as piranhas
We gobbled body parts one after the other
We tore off the skin, too much fat and burned as if
           in a solarium
I tore apart a breast with my tooth implants
The intestines and glands danced in the frying pan even though
           they were dead
What do glands feel?
We were reminded of the war, food coupons, the pork, the
           white worms in meat
They spoke to us
Nothing could be left on our plates
Think of all the starving children in the world
And the eyes of the sheep, their nearsighted gaze and the
           mild taste
We drank Black Death
The kidneys we ate and the livers, the hearts and the brains
           the stomachs, the spleen and the marrow
And the bleeding air of the lung like the blackboard sponge in school
The more we ate of the animals the hungrier we became

I catch sight of your face with my hands
I take your mouth in my hands
I press it into my face with rhythmic movements
           of my hands
I eat your mouth with my hands
I lick you around my lips with my hands
I kiss you with my hands
I hold your eyes in my hands
I hold your hand in my hands
I hold your hands in my hands

Who dares to rise up against me.  Come
darling so that I may kiss your lopped-off head


I don't know what it is about Bach's music, it crawls
on silver strings along my neural pathways, warms
my coronary arteries, delivers serotonin kisses right to
my solar plexus, brings along with it my happiest childhood
memories and gilds not only this moment but
also makes it easier to consider the approaching end

translated from the Finland-Swedish by Rika Lesser

Translation Copyright © by Rika Lesser.
Used by permission of the author.