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Ninth Prayer of My Body

This is that place, that untraversable body,
sprawling out like a voiceless hunger.
These are all the lights and the waters
of this city built within walls.

Up on the roof an eternal dove is cooing—
some marvelous tale of silver and bread . . .
Did you ever discover that word, that name,
which throbs in the marrow of every rib?

Did you ever discover that terrible secret,
that life which has nowhere yet been lived?
Did you ever discover how painful the lights are
above this body, which flows without flowing?

This is that place, that untraversable body,
that hunger which sprawled it out and gave it birth.
This is that city built here within walls,
within walls built of light and water.

Aco ŠopovNot-Being, 1963
Read the cycle “Prayers of My Body
Translated by Rawley Grau and Christina E. Kramer, The Long Coming of the Fire, Deep Vellum, 2023