To Live

by Ilya Kaminsky

To live, as the great book commands,
is to love.  Such love is not enough ! —

the heart needs a little foolishness !
So I fold the newspaper, make a hat.

I pretend to Sonya that I am the greatest poet
and she pretends to believe it —

my Sonya, her stories and her beautiful legs
her stories and legs that open other stories !

And I say: a human being
understands the universe: its music

makes us foolish.  I see my future: a yellow raincoat,
a sandwich, a piece of tomato between my teeth,

I raise my infant daughter to the sky —
I am singing as she pisses

(Old fool, my wife laughs)
on my forehead and my shoulders !