I am too close for him ...

by Wislawa Szymborska

Wislawa Szymborska

I am too close for him to dream about me.
I'm not flying over him, not fleeing him
under the roots of trees. I am too close.
Not with my voice sings the fish in the net.
Not from my finger rolls the ring.
I am too close. A large house is on fire
without my calling for help. Too close
for a bell dangling from my hair to chime.
Too close for me to enter as a guest
before whom the walls part.
Never again will I die so readily,
so far beyond the flesh, so inadvertently
as once in his dream. I am too close,
too close—I hear the hiss
and see the glittering husk of that word,
as I lie immobilized in his embrace. He sleeps,
more available at this moment
to the ticket lady of a one-lion traveling circus
seen but once in his life
than to me lying beside him.
Now a valley grows for her in him, ochre-leaved,
closed off by a snowy mountain
in the azure air. I am too close
to fall out of the sky for him. My scream
might only awaken him. Poor me,
limited to my own form,
but I was a birch tree, I was a lizard,
I emerged from satins and sundials
my skins shimmering in different colors. I possessed
the grace to disappear from astonished eyes,
and that is the rich man's riches. I am too close,
too close for him to dream about me.
I slip my arm out from under his sleeping head.
It's numb, full of imaginary pins and needles.
And on the head of each, ready to be counted,
dance the fallen angels.

Last updated June 26, 2015