Answers to Letters
In the bottom drawer of my desk I come across a letter that first arrived twenty-six years ago. A letter in panic, and it’s still breathing when it arrives the second time.
A house has five windows: through four of them the day shines clear and still. The fifth faces a black sky, thunder and storm. I stand at the fifth window. The letter.
Sometimes an abyss opens between Tuesday and Wednesday but twenty-six years may be passed in a moment. Time is not a straight line, it’s more of a labyrinth, and if you press close to the wall at the right place you can hear the hurrying steps and voices, you can hear yourself walking past there on the other side.
Was the letter ever answered? I don’t remember, it was long ago. The countless thresholds of the sea went on migrating. The heart went on leaping from second to second like the toad in the wet grass of an August night.
The unanswered letters pile high up, like cirro-stratus clouds presaging bad weather. They make the sunbeams lustreless. One day I will answer.
One day when I am dead and can at last concentrate. Or at least so far away from here that I can find myself again. When I’m walking, newly arrived, in the big city, on 125th Street, in the wind on the street of dancing garbage. I who love to stray off and vanish in the crowd, a capital T in the mass of the endless text.
- Tomas Tranströmer (1981)