What Comes

J’ai rapporté du désespoir un panier si petit mon amour, qu’on a pu le tresser en osier.
I brought from despair a basket so small, my love, that it might have been woven of willow.

                                                                                       —Rene Char

to speak is not yet to have spoken.

the not-yet of a white realm of nothing left

neither for itself nor another

a no-longer already there, along with the arrival of what has been 

light and the reverse of light

terror as walking blind along the breaking sea, body in whom I lived

the not-yet of death darkening what it briefly illuminates

an unknown place as between languages

back and forth, breath to breath as a calm

in the surround rises, fireflies in lindens, an ache of pine

you have yourself within you

yourself, you have her, and there is nothing

that cannot be seen

open then to the coming of what comes


From In the Lateness of the World by Carolyn Forché, published by Penguin Press, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2020 by Carolyn Forché.