Good and Evil

Nanos Valaoritis
b. 1921


The first tree I ever made love to
Took me in its branches with tender care
It hugged me until I could hardly breathe
– Your mother’s milke was not so sweet –
It said in a low rustle after we had finished
I woke up astonished at the clarity of my thought
Exhilarated by a strange feeling of relief

The tree had become a woman
Standing at the foot of my bed
Leafing me with gentle strokes
Pushing her roots over my body
Help Help I cried unable to move as in a nightmare
And then she fell over me
Trying to suck the blood out of my breast
Trying to lap up my body out of a tin plate
Placed in front of a dog’s kennel

I swam desperately trying to get out of reach
Her tongue was getting closer and closer
When a strong breath blew me off the ledge of the plate
I started to fall towards the ground
Which turned out to be her lips
While layers and layers of flesh went past me
And I could read their different shades of meaning
As if they had been the lines of a text

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