From What Does and What Doesn’t Come to Pass

Zoë Skoulding

Translated from French by Zoë Skoulding

Of what does or doesn’t come to pass the shadow is
it seems to me the least experienced ghost. Not
that between the two the double witness like
someone deciding to incline one ear or freeze his
breath would remember what had happened. I’m not
sure that anything did happen when snow
not usually given to ascension rose again despite
the obstacle of clouds. Rose again to where
one might ask.
Or what’s snow doing
when instead of falling it rises. Or why
wouldn’t another ghost well up from what
does or doesn’t come to pass and slide down
there into winter and here into words. And why
would this ghost slide into words here.

• •

In front of the closed gate of the cemetery how not
to say to myself that there’s at least one justice
when the earth is turned over. Those who live will stay
outside this time. And inside – the dead.
Seen at last the frontier separating one from the other.
Such an exclusion however nearly makes you want
to die.
You would offer your death to cross the threshold.
You’d furiously wish that a mythical ferryman
would take us to the other side to show us what will be
forgotten. I’m sure you hear me call him. But the
gate won’t open. Has the time passed when you
could enter the land of the dead just like that.
Does this mean that return is impossible from now on.
Does this mean tell me that you’ll never come back.

• •

What did that night say to you while the axis of things
shifted imperceptibly towards fracas – what did
the smoke say to you as it slid from the kitchen
through the half-open window. You had do you remember your
back against the opposite wall. Someone had asked you to
leave. And now the smoke it was leaving too and it
spoke to you the smoke and you keep silent.
You are the guardian
of silence now. And your back is against the wall.
And towards fracas the axis of things
imperceptibly shifts. It is magnificent that night
but it has no more words. And because the smoke
speaks and speaks to you and only to you and as you are
the guardian of silence who will tell me my love
for how many burnings that smoke was the speaker.

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