Even now, where the plaster blisters
and flakes off the house wall,
and the mortar’s metastases
grow visible in wide bands,
with a bare finger I do not
wish to inscribe the names
of my enemies.

The crumbling rubble nourishes the weed:
nettles, chalk-white,
grow wild at the terrace’s cracked edge.
The men who supply me with coal
furtively, at night,
and drag their baskets to the cellar heap,
are heedless. They trample
the evening primroses.
I straighten the stalks again.

Welcome are guests
who love weeds,
who don’t shun the stone path
overgrown with grass,
None come.

Coal-carriers come,
out of filthy baskets they pour
the angular black sorrow
of the earth into my cellar.

This Issue

December 20, 1979