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The Promise

I don't look over my shoulder, no idea
where I'm headed and not an ounce of fear,
falling like fluff from an eiderdown quilt,
sinking in the afternoon air, real as an hour
of solitude or the fragrance of an herb.
My wounds are healed over and all five senses
in sync, harmonized to the birds and the sky,
the grimy wall of an underpass with graffiti
scratched in a child's hand, announcing
I was here. But not only here, my lord, as you
know, I go where you want me to be—
tonight, for instance, I am a wave
you push across the Old Square, underground
through a parking garage, over the banks
of a lazy green river and over the files
on a drawing desk of another architect.
Come, a whisper says, and again
I flood the channel, at one with
the darkened air above the city and the steppe,
like the pillow you smooth and soften up
for someone unable to sleep,
lying along the world as it slowly goes out.

Aleš Debeljak

Without Anesthesia: New and Selected Poems
Persea Books

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