A Pound of Flesh, by Paul Éluard (1948)

I am a man in the emptiness
Deaf Blind Mute
On an immense pedestal of black silence

Nothing This oblivion without end
This perfection, a repeated zero…
Solitude, finalised

The day is clean of work, and the night is pure


Sometimes, I wear your sandals,
and I step towards you

Sometimes I put on your dress
and then: I have your breasts, your stomach

So, okay, I see myself under your mask
And I know myself

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The Lack

I sit here gazing into our garden
And my thoughts are thrown to the future
Where you are gone and lacking from the world
By the sound of voices and strings from the radio

I imagine your funeral, and the darkness of the church
The tears of the congregation of your life
And me sat here in this house again, after
gazing into the future without you.

And I catch a taste, of what must be
The lot of the losers, having lost their shining thread
drawn into old places, without the old guard
The haunting nostalgia, unrelenting

Unable to move, unable to remove
From life, the anchors of the past
And I understand for a second, hidden til now
What loneliness is.

And for a second it destroys me.
The lack is not someone missing
It is someone all too there, overdetermined.

And your loss too, already overthought
Will haunt me until it, too, passes
And we see my real reaction.

I do not await this moment with a smile.