Visit from My Father
My dead Father comes to visit
and sits down in his chair again, the one I got.
"Well, Niels!" he says.
He is brown and strong, his hair shines like black
Once he moved other people's gravestones around
using a steel rod and a wheelbarrow, I helped him.
Now he's moved his own
by himself. "How's it going"? he says.
I tell him all of it,
my plans, all the unsuccessful attempts.
On my bulletin board hang seventeen bills.
"Throw them away",
he says, "they'll come back again!"
"For many years I was hard on myself",
he says, "I lie awake mulling
to become a decent person.
I offer him a cigarette,
but he has stopped smoking now.
Outside the sun sets fire to the roofs and chimneys,
the garbagemen make noise and yell to each other
on the street. My father gets up,
goes to the window and looks down at them.
"They are busy", he says, "that's good.
Translation P.K. Brask & Patrick Friesen
© Niels Hav