Going On Together
"Above the hotel gate, I saw a sign:
'International Conference on Inflammation of the Eye'
for those who have cried too much or not cried enough.
All of them with name tags on their lapels
like temporary nameplates in a cemetery or markers
in a botanical garden.
They approach one another as if sniffing, as if checking,
Who are you where are you from and when
was the last time you cried?
The subject of the morning session is 'Sobbing:
The end of Crying or the Way It Begins.' Sobbing
as soul-stuttering and griefstones. Sobbing
as a valve or a loop that links cry to cry,
a loop that unravels easily, like a hair ribbon,
and the crying — hair that fans out in profusion, glorious.
Or a loop that pulls into an impossible knot —
sobbing like an oath, a testimony, a cure.
Back in their cubicles, the women translators are busy
translating fate to fate, cry to cry. At night they come home,
scrub the words from their lips, and with sobs of happiness
they start loving, their eyes aflame with joy."