on a branch woke her.
At four in the morning, before it was light, narimi
narimi said the bird.
What will I be when I’m dead? A sound or a scent
or neither. I’ve started a mat.
I may still finish it. Dr. Pinto
is optimistic.: the situation is stable. The left one
is a little less good. The right one is fine. The X-rays are clear. See
for yourself: no secondaries here .
The bird wakes her. Lying on her back with her eyes shut, thinking
What’s left apart from the place mat she’s started and may still finish.
What’s left is a wish that the pain will go away
that it will all go away and stop bending over her.
She lies as though she has left her launching pad and is now
moving along the Milky Way and already the planet
from which she was launched is far off, has shrunk till it can no longer be
distinguished from tens of thousands of other stars.
A bird on a branch calls to her and Nadia is lying
wiping away the good and the bad, like a woman who has nearly
finished washing the floor, walking backward toward the door, drawing
the mop toward her, all she has left to do is to wipe away the traces on
the wet floor of her won footprints. The pain is still sleeping: her hostile
body has not woken with her with the sound of the bird, with all its knives.
Even shame, her lifetime companion, has gone. It has ceased to gnaw at her.
Everything is letting go of her and Nadia is letting go of everything,
like a pear from a branch: the pear is not picked but a ripened pear drops.
Right now at four in the morning Nadia is the most alone she has ever been,
not alone like a sick woman hearing a bird in a garden but alone like a bird
with no garden no branch no wing.
- From The same sea, a novel in verse by Amos oz