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Every morning, suit,
you are waiting on a chair
to be filled
by my vanity, my love,
my hope, my body.
only half awake
I leave the shower
to shrug into your sleeves,
my legs seek
the hollow of your legs,
and thus embraced
by your unfailing loyalty
I take my morning walk,
work my way into my poetry;
from my windows I see
the things,
men, women,
events and struggles
constantly shaping me,
constantly confronting me,
setting my hands to the task,
opening my eyes, creasing my lips,
and in the same way,
I am shaping you,
poking out your elbows,
wearing you threadbare,
and so your life grows
in the image of my own.
In the wind
you flap and hum
as if you were my soul,
in bad moments
you cling
to my bones,
abandoned, at nighttime
darkness and dream
people with their phantoms
your wings and mine.
I wonder
whether some day
an enemy
will stain you with my blood,
for then
you would die with me,
but perhaps
it will be
less dramatic,
and you will grow ill,
with me, with my body,
and together
we will be lowered
into the earth.
That’s why
every day
I greet you
with respect and then
you embrace me and I forget you,
because we are one being
and shall be always
in the wind, through the night,
the streets and the struggle,
one body,
maybe, maybe, one day, still.

From ‘Selected Odes of Pablo Neruda’
Translated by Margaret Sayers Peden