Li-Young Lee


The Sacrifice


We come to each other
exactly at the center,
the spine of ample fire, and suffer
to be revised.
Stay with me.

Weren't we promised
the sheer flame, bright change
so clean even our clothes wouldn't smell of smoke,
not one hair of our heads would be singed?
Yet, just now, didn't the tongues slip
loose and hot about my neck?
Stay close now.

The sound is like a rustling coming from chambers.
someone sifting through thousands
of pages, the histories of rapture,
looking for a happy ending.
The sound is like the sea,
which is very far away.
Are you scared?

There are many things
which are far from us now.
Try to recall a few of them:
the iron in the bath water
that made you taste of rust.
The rabbit screaming in the night,
its innards strewn

on the stoop like prophesy.
Can you hear me? Say something.
Tell me what you remember of our life.
The torn dress you threw away,
a piece of which I rescued and used as a scarf.
Are you still with me? Say something.
Does this hurt very much? Are you here?

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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