Love Story

Oh how I knew to die for you and how
I knew not to live for you.

And they told me long ago, how beautiful, and where you’re from,
that you loved me once verymuch, and still do.
They even told me once that your name, I believe, is Ruchama,
and, by the way, it fits you well, I mean your dress.
You know, many rumors arrive from there,
and in fact I’ve been waiting for you to arrive today.
Oh how I knew to die for you and how
I knew not to live for you.

And my days in perfect silence whispered to you unbroken whispers
with each incidental wind that stroked your bare breasts.
And with each stroke you sighed it’s evening already.
Of course, you were mistaken. It was morning, but a sad morning.
And suddenly one day you felt you were grown already
and the wind went drifting among the reeds.

In the lake the water was deep. And when darkness
glided across like a canoe, a formless
apprehension in the chest cavity caused pain. And when darkness
did not glide across like a canoe, silence
squeezed your body like a giant python. Darkness
was not the issue. And when the morning sun soared

you understood that night had gone and you went away from there,
more tried and worried than ever before.
And I asked you seriously, Ruchama, how are you,
and how did you injure your hand.
And you smiled and said, Ah, it’s from over there.
Oh, if only you could understand, but you never could,
never understood how I knew to die for you and how
I knew not to live for you.

Of course, one day you’ll end up going back there,
and I will see you part of the way and then will turn back.
I doubt I’ll turn my head to look back. Oh, how
some incidental wind will brush my bare chest.
And after a while I’ll try to guess if you got there,
and later, on every sad morning, will forget again.
And if in moments of weakness I’ll remember you
Ruchama, dark reeds will protect you.

And if in a strong moment of weakness I’ll desire you
and walk quickly toward the lake
an incidental wind will surely come running and whistle in you
and you’ll undress, there’ll be a rustle in the lake,
and I’ll find only your clothes. Then perhaps an old
hopeless love will rasp in you. In the lake a lost
stillness will anchor with a whisper. And so
an incidental wind will flutter there and later go silent in you.