Before Nightfall 

Leaning in summer tuxes across the balcony   or reclining like nudes with their hair thrown back,   some trees, after high conversation, complained   about having to go back to the deaf earth again.   The leaves pulled on their arms to keep them   from going and to get even closer to whom?   To what? Which essential truth?   As if the human shadows inside the rooms   would give them some clarification,   some formula against the faceless barking . . .   And what did they sense in me but a trembling?   Night stood in the background.   A flame flew into the grass’ eyes.   I did not move, no longer knowing who I was   or if dawn would also come for me. Translated from the French by Henri Cole  

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