Lauri Otonkoski
from Black was White (1995)
translated by Anselm Hollo


                                  When I learned to pay attention
to unlikely reptiles
to surprising glacier waters
to nightgowned rejections
to wall-mounted assault rifles
to travelling angels
to lips shaped like promises
to mussels swimming in dreams
to crashes, rules and funerals
to shady, secret sacristies
to the indecisiveness of dancing shoes
to the immeasurable indifference of looks like bullets
to spring, myself and seductions slow as clouds
                                                         all of these
                                                                  between the words,
was that when the difficulties began?