Autotomy

 

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In danger, the holothurian cuts itself in two.

It abandons one self to a hungry world

and with the other self it flees.

 

It violently divides into doom and salvation,

retribution and reward, what has been and what will be.

 

An abyss appears in the middle of its body

between what instantly become two foreign shores.

 

Life on one shore, death on the other.

Here hope and there despair.

 

If there are scales, the pans donít move.

If there is justice, this is it.

 

To die just as required, without excess.

To grow back just whatís needed from whatís left.

 

We, too, can divide ourselves, itís true.

But only into flesh and a broken whisper.

Into flesh and poetry.

 

The throat on one side, laughter on the other,

quiet, quickly dying out.

 

Here the heavey heard, there non omnis moriar Ė

just three little words, like a flightís three feathers.

 

The abyss doesnít divide us.

The abyss surrounds us.

 

in memorium Halina Poswiatowska

 

Wisława Szymborska†† †††††††††††

(from Could Have 1972)†††††††††††