Pia Tafdrup (Denmark, 1952)
My Mothers Hand
Bathing in a drops quiet light
I remember how I came into being:
A pencil stuck in my hand,
my mothers cool hand around mine, it was warm.
And then we wrote
in and out between coral reefs,
an undersea alphabet of arches and apexes
of snail-shell spirals, of starfish points,
of gesticulating octopus arms,
of cave vaults and rock formations.
Letters that vibrated and found their way,
dizzy over the white.
Words like flat fish that flapped
and dug themselves into the sand
or swaying sea anemones with hundreds of threads
in quiet motion at the same time.
Sentences like streams of fish
that grew fins and rose,
grew wings and moved in a rhythm,
throbbing like my blood, that blindly
beat stars against the hearts night sky,
when I saw that her hand had let mine go,
that I had long ago written myself out of her grasp.
Translated by David McDuff.