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The Sight of Light

Pia Tafdrup The Sight of Light. Poems. Gyldendal 2018. Cover: Ida Balslev-Olesen. The poem is translated by David McDuff

The Sight of Light


The nightdress you want to be buried in,
hangs white and newly ironed
on a hanger in the closet,
the sight
almost makes me cry,

even though you’re alive, mother,
standing next to me
to show me that nightdress,
that looks most of all like a wedding dress
under the transparent plastic.

You raise the nightdress to the light
like a mirror for death
I can’t see into,
when you are with me.

I have to imagine
you lifeless
in this nightdress, see my life
without you,
but I cannot now.