Journeys End In Lovers Meeting
Hanne Gaby Odiele by Walter Chin for Glass #14 Summer 2013
"La vitrine de Romi" (Romi’s window)
Then one day she noticed the forest had started to bleed into her waking life.
There were curved metal plates on the trees to see around corners.
She thought to brush her hand against his thigh.
She thought to trace the seam of his jeans with her thumbnail.
The supersaturated blues were beginning to pixellate around the edges, to
become a kind of grammar.
Soot amassed in drifts in the corners of the room.
She placed a saucer of sugar water under her lamp and counted mosquitoes
as they drowned.
A soft brown dot loomed large in her concern.
She pressed her thumb into the hollow of his throat for a while and then let
Shaking all over, she arrives near the lamp, and her dizziness grants her one last vague reprieve before she goes up in flames. She has fallen into the green tablecloth, and upon that advantageous background she stretches out for a moment (for a unit of her own time which we have no way of measuring) the profusion of her inconceivable splendor. She looks like a miniature lady who is having a heart attack on the way to the theater. She will never arrive. Besides, where is there a theater for such fragile spectators?…. Her wings, with their tiny golden threads, are moving like a double fan in front of no face; and between them is this thin body, a bilboquet onto which two eyes like emerald balls have fallen back….
It is in you, my dear, that God has exhausted himself. He tosses you into the fire so that he can recover a bit of strength. ( Like a little boy breaking into his piggy bank.)
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
From: The Complete French Poems, Poems and Dedications, 1920-26
translation: Stephen Mitchell
The original in French: Farfallettina. Tout agitée elle arrive vers la lampe et son vertige lui donne un dernier répit avant d’être brûlée. Elle s’est abattue sur le tapis vert de la table et sur ce fond avantageux s’étale pour un instant le luxe de son inconcevable splendeur. On dirait, en trop petit, une dame qui avait une panne en se rendant au Théâtre. Elle n’y arrivera point. Et d’ailleurs où est le Théâtre pour de si frêles spectateurs? Ses ailes dont on aperçoit les minuscules baguettes d’or remuent comme un double éventail devant aucune figure; et entre elles ce corps mince, bilboquet où sont retombés deux yeux en boule d’émeraude. C’est en toi, ma chère, que Dieu s’est épuisé. Il te lance à la flamme pour regagner un peu de sa force. (Comme un enfant qui casse sa tire-lire.)