He fell into desire, the melancholy sin
of love, delight in the moment that time
erases. To the abstract froth of life he surrendered
the solitude he'd inherited from night. He entered
a river of indefinite words, abandoning the safety
of the banks.

He came to know the pale side of faces;
he aroused bodies and remembered only
a shadow's cold; he saw absence distil
in his autumn-numbed senses and remained in-
different, looking forward to the joys
of spring.

But in the season that recalls the departed
girl, something went wrong. He didn't set
the alarm clock for the right time; he didn't
hear the name by which lovers recognize each
other. He'd hardly slept the night before;
he'd amused himself.

In the end he was left with a residue of
song: the revelation of a voice's echo without
the substance of lips, abrupt like
a few strands of old hair
in the emptiness of the poem.

by Nuno Júdice

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