Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Yona Wallach

WHEN YOU COME TO SLEEP WITH ME
COME LIKE MY FATHER

When you come to sleep with me
come like my father
come in darkness

speak in his voice
so I won’t know
I’ll crawl on all fours
and I’ll speak about what I don’t have
and you’ll scold me:
“my material”
separate from me
at the gate
say goodbye
a thousand times
with all the yearnings
that are
until God says:
“enough”
and I’ll let go
I won’t sleep
not with God
not with my father
suddenly you’ll be revealed
as the one in charge of
the restraints
my father will be an angel
minister of hosts
and the two of you will try to make
something of me
I will feel
like nothing
and I will do everything
you tell me to do.
On the one hand you will be God
and I’ll wait for afterwards
you won’t be the authority
and I just down and out
trying to be polite
I’ll divide you in two
and also myself
part soul
part body
you will appear like two
and so will I
like two sea lions
one wounded dragging a fin
or two women
one always limping
and you one face
and the other hardly seen.

WHEN YOU COME TO SLEEP WITH ME COME LIKE MY FATHER

Close

WHEN YOU COME TO SLEEP WITH ME
COME LIKE MY FATHER

When you come to sleep with me
come like my father
come in darkness

speak in his voice
so I won’t know
I’ll crawl on all fours
and I’ll speak about what I don’t have
and you’ll scold me:
“my material”
separate from me
at the gate
say goodbye
a thousand times
with all the yearnings
that are
until God says:
“enough”
and I’ll let go
I won’t sleep
not with God
not with my father
suddenly you’ll be revealed
as the one in charge of
the restraints
my father will be an angel
minister of hosts
and the two of you will try to make
something of me
I will feel
like nothing
and I will do everything
you tell me to do.
On the one hand you will be God
and I’ll wait for afterwards
you won’t be the authority
and I just down and out
trying to be polite
I’ll divide you in two
and also myself
part soul
part body
you will appear like two
and so will I
like two sea lions
one wounded dragging a fin
or two women
one always limping
and you one face
and the other hardly seen.

WHEN YOU COME TO SLEEP WITH ME
COME LIKE MY FATHER

When you come to sleep with me
come like my father
come in darkness

speak in his voice
so I won’t know
I’ll crawl on all fours
and I’ll speak about what I don’t have
and you’ll scold me:
“my material”
separate from me
at the gate
say goodbye
a thousand times
with all the yearnings
that are
until God says:
“enough”
and I’ll let go
I won’t sleep
not with God
not with my father
suddenly you’ll be revealed
as the one in charge of
the restraints
my father will be an angel
minister of hosts
and the two of you will try to make
something of me
I will feel
like nothing
and I will do everything
you tell me to do.
On the one hand you will be God
and I’ll wait for afterwards
you won’t be the authority
and I just down and out
trying to be polite
I’ll divide you in two
and also myself
part soul
part body
you will appear like two
and so will I
like two sea lions
one wounded dragging a fin
or two women
one always limping
and you one face
and the other hardly seen.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère