Letter from My Wife


I
want to die before you.
Do you think the one who follows
finds the one who went first?
I don't think so.
It would be best to have me burned
and put in a jar
               over your fireplace.
Make the jar
clear glass,
               so you can watch me inside . . .
You see my sacrifice:
I give up being earth,
I give up being a flower,
                                     just to stay near you.
And I become dust
to live with you.
Then, when you die,
you can come into my jar
and we'll live together,
your ashes with mine,
until some dizzy bride
or wayward grandson
tosses us out . . .
But
by then
we'll be
so mixed
together
that even at the dump our atoms
                              will fall side by side.
We'll dive into the earth together.
And if one day a wild flower
finds water and springs up from that piece of earth,
its stem will have
two blooms for sure:
                              one will be you,
                              the other me.

I'm
not about to die yet.
I want to bear another child.
I'm brimming with life.
My blood is hot.
I'm going to live a long, long time--
and with you.
Death doesn't scare me,
I just don't find our funeral arrangements
                                 too attractive.
But everything could change
before I die.
Any chance you'll get out of prison soon?
Something inside me says:
                                       Maybe.


                       Turkish; trans. Randy Blasing & Mutlu Konuk


Nazim Hikmet, Turkish, trans. Randy Blasing & Mutlu Konuk, Poems of Nazim Hikmet, Persea Books, 1994.