Love and Superstition

The huge blue bowl inverted above us
is full of light. What Atlas can shoulder
such enormous fragility?

The weapons of the fourteenth century are glistening
on the dark side of the globe:
glorious knives, ancient guns. And in the museum
Artemis’ dogs lie in quiet repose on the frame
of a crossbow. Give up all, these contraptions
with their scores of marquetry, are saying: We were adored.

The twice over clarity, and
the spring. The whiskey-jack,
saturated with blueness on its powerline
shrieks against the chirping of the dustbin cart;
the plastic bag, a tree decoration since fall,
is carried off by the wind as a blossom, transparent
as the coffee in its spilling. The true jihad
(so says the father of a dead assassin on CTV),
is but caring love for the family.

Let us pray and depart on a jaunt
to the market, shop for the ingredients
of a favourite dish’s Ayurvedic vermilion: carrots, pumpkin, pepper
the colour of sun above the morning traffic streaking into town.
Above Richmond a cloud of Airbuses glitters against the biscuit porcelain,
the blue china. Meanwhile, in the Alps a crowd has gathered at the place
where a flight recorder was rescued. Remember, the algorithms

of your inquiries are encapsulated in any place.
Remove the Rorschach-like stain from the shopping note, delete the list,
pray rhythmically like the swaying of seaweed, in miso. And don’t forget:
the cocomilk, the Mumbai curry. This is jihad, and it means:
1) the cherished recipe. 2) the snake-like queue in the market paradise; and
3) kisses planted on the gilded toes of a little bought buddha
while crowds enter the “Skytrain”.

Don’t give up. This soul thing is essentially
a globe fish filled with poisonous delights.
Do prepare it properly. Hold the bowl,
it contains the bane of what
you’re, in reality, dreaming of. Above, the earthenware heavens.

Dice the pumpkin, carrots, the fish,
with love. Polish the centre piece. Get on your knees
for the sake of this floor. And beg
for the pilot’s peace of mind.

Sylvia Geist
Translated from the German by Charl-Pierre Naudé