Joseph Brodsky — Love

Joseph Brodsky — Love

Twice I woke up tonight and wandered to

the window. And the lights down on the street,

like pale omission points, tried to complete

the fragment of a sentence spoken through

sleep, but diminished darkness, too.

I’d dreamt that you were pregnant, and in spite

of having lived so many years apart

I still felt guilty and my heartened palm

caressed your belly as, by the bedside,

it fumbled for my trousers and the light­-

switch on the wall. And with the bulb turned on

I knew that I was leaving you alone

there, in the darkness, in the dream, where calmly

you waited till I might return,

not trying to reproach or scold me

for the unnatural hiatus. For

darkness restores what light cannot repair.

There we are married, blest, we make once more

the two-backed beast and children are the fair

excuse of what we’re naked for.

Some future night you will appear again.

You’ll come to me, worn out and thin now, after

things in between, and I’ll see son or daughter

not named as yet. This time I will restrain

my hand from groping for the switch, afraid

and feeling that I have no right

to leave you both like shadows by that sever­-

ing fence of days that bar your sight,

voiceless, negated by the real light

that keeps me unattainable forever.