THINGS WE WANT TO TOUCH

Nothing exists outside us:

the reservoirs dry up
just when we thirst
for silence, when nettles
become a healing herb, and the cities
return the dust to the nearest cemetery.

All those black-and-white flowers on the wallpaper
of the homes we’ve abandoned
blossom among impersonal histories
just when our words
become a non-transferable heritage,
and the things we want to touch
some other person’s presence.

We’re like a shoe carried off
in a scurry of stray dogs,
we hug each other
like close-twined cables through the hollow bricks
of houses where no one lives.

And it’s been like this for a long time now – nothing
exists outside us:

sometimes we call each other
sun, light, angel.

Nikola Madzirov
Translated from the Macedonian by Peggy & Graham W. Reid