between ourselves

by Arne Rautenberg

between ourselves


there my father was more than one

there my father was more than a thousand

there my father was all men

and mother was too

and she too was more than one more than a thousand

and she too was all mothers


and there my father encountered himself

in the factory on the machines

powered himself up and roared around and father

encountered himself in all the cars which

came towards him at the end of the shift and spoke his language

when he swtiched on the car radio


and mother too bought meat from herself in the morning

took the money from her hand and said hello

to herself in the stair and heard her own voice

her own worries on the phone from someone

who spoke like her who had her voice and her worries


and when father arrived he arrived everywhere

and when mother opened the door mother opened the door everywhere

and all my mothers welcomed all my fathers

and in each house nothing was amiss

all my fathers embraced all my mothers

and all my mothers lifted all their motherly skirts

and all my fathers undid all their fatherly flies


and there I was and knew only myself

myself as a growing child among

other growing children who I was too

myself as a playmate who played with someone who was me

myself as a football team who faced only other

football teams which consisted of myself

and so there was nothing else for it but to console myself with myself

and my only consolation was the fact that all the others who I was too

had as did I to console themselves with myself