I cannot sleep
icy night light keeps me awake.
out of bed and to the kitchen in the pitch dark.
teddy clamped under my arm.
hellish glow and two shadows at the counter.
one white shadow and one black.
doing the washing up.
sweet boy are you awake
asks the white one, startled.
come here can’t sleep again huh
says the black one.
I dreamed I had to bury both of you on my own
I don’t say as I rub my eyes.
well you’re right we’re stone dead
nothing to worry about
just go back to bed and sleep.
I Accept the Amorality of Nature Like That of Myself and the Free Will of Others
connecting with my ancestors.
an obscure group of men and women
at their wits’ end.
praying to the spirit in their ancient habitat
like a form of rhythmic commerce.
with their colorful village as hunting ground.
a sacred place built up of
wooden huts brick buildings wild terrain
and imaginary trees that protect from life and death
as rigid as bodyguards.
if as a free person I fall from one of those trees
I stay lying on the ground and a brand-new tree grows out of me!
like from the cracked stone of a fruit.
I have so much more to tell you.
about woodcutters and gold diggers who turned
history on its head not so long ago.
about making peace or fighting to the death.
about the colonizer and his ridiculous family matters.
but of course I could be exaggerating.
“Mira Akí!” and “ik accepteer de amoraliteit van de natuur als die van mijzelf en de vrije wil van anderen” © Alfred Schaffer. By arrangement with the author. Translations © 2023 by Michele Hutchison. With the support of the Dutch Foundation for Literature. All rights reserved.