for Aase Berg
They ask of us so many things:
To fill the silence in the center of words;
To measure the wealth and height of healthy man,
And be the foil to his fondest crimes.
Against the obligation to oblige,
Against the affirmation of what is subscribed
Stands only the molting mouth of a bite
That finds no satisfaction in smiles:
The negativity of the snake, the camouflage
Of the cold at heart, who only allow the sun to touch
Their seething scales to build up rage,
The fuel of their poisonous tongues.
O, let that patient gland that cooks
Bad breath, and sharp-voiced song
Be your protection, your own charmed pharmacy,
The factory of your ever-changing skin.
For nothing in our mammal mythology
Breeds us for birthing ourselves:
Only the ancient, hissing exigence
Of the oldest enemy, the critical one.