The Bandaged Shoulder
He said he’d hurt himself against a wall or had fallen down.
But there was probably some other reason
for the wounded, the bandaged shoulder.
Because of a rather abrupt gesture,
as he reached for a shelf to bring down
some photographs he wanted to look at,
the bandage came undone and a little blood ran.
I did it up again, taking my time
over the binding; he wasn’t in pain
and I liked looking at the blood.
It was a thing of my love, that blood.
When we left, I found, in front of his chair,
a bloody rag, part of the dressing,
a rag to be thrown straight into the garbage;
and I put it to my lips
and kept it there a long while—
the blood of love against my lips.
Trans. Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard