after C. P. Cavafy
You tell me: I’m going to another country,
another city, another body.
Perhaps my heart will stay uncertain,
and I will destroy my history but I am leaving.
Even if on every street, I find the ruins of our bodies,
I’ll roam like a restless soul anyway.
I tell you: you won’t find a new country,
new city, new body. You’ll return to roam
the same ruins, same streets, same quartiere,
return to complain in the same room
of the same house, return to the memory of our intertwined bodies.
You will always end up in Roma: I will always remain in you.
And maybe late, you’ll see, that what you destroyed
is worth more than all the worlds you wasted your time in.
Copyright © 2022 by Nathalie Handal. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 22, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.