David Ignatow (7 February 1914 - 17 November 1997 / Brooklyn/ New York)
Whatever we do, whether we light
strangers’ cigarettes—it may turn out
to be a detective wanting to know who is free
with a light on a lonely street nights—
or whether we turn away and get a knife
planted between our shoulders for our discourtesy;
whatever we do—whether we marry for love
and wake up to find love is a task,
or whether for convenience to find love
must be won over, or we are desperate—
whatever we do; save by dying,
and there too we are caught,
by being planted too close to our parents.
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.