quand un au revoir n’est pas un adieu / Jeremy Fernando

a song for 堅姨媽 (1936 – 2020)

blue skies from pain, 2023

You who could heal never had to say much 
for in silence your needles speak 
and through them all our bodies had to hear did we
As for our souls, all you ever need do

were to smile your quiet love 

Peut-être c’est pourquoi 
je ne peux écrire un adieu que 
— pour toi qui a toujours été avec moi
qui sera toujours avec moi —
dans une langue qui n’est pas la mienne

Car le chagrin est un terrain inconnu
et ne peut donc être parcouru que 
dans une langue également inconnue
celle dont je reste sourd

Comme des mots qui me viennent 
entre guillemets

It’s goodbye for now, 
but not forever
~ Mae West

For it is a word I cannot write out
being caught in a sadness that is not mine — 
that I wish had you as its focus 
But the world has me surrounded 
and is taking me away 
when all I really want to do is cry for you 

For now, I hold on to it — 
sliding towards a tongue I cannot quite hear
and with it the possibility of seeing you again 

Which might well be why I can only be writing this in
languages you cannot read 
through tongues which speak not to your ear 

Even as, only one thing remained reachable, 
close and secure amid all losses: language 
Yes, language (Paul Celan) 

For, if it cannot reach your ear 
there is always a hope I can hold on to —
that one day, again 
I might be able to whisper into your ear 

Chaque fois unique, la fin du monde 

Jeremy Fernando reads, writes, and makes things. He is the general editor of Delere Press; curates the thematic magazine, One Imperative; and is the writer-at and co-creator of the private dining experience, People Table Tales.


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