traffic jams and radios


"They are sitting in the car in a traffic jam,
the radio is on, exhaust fumes
and music, a song he thinks
is beautiful, about
violins on fire and a dance which goes on
until the end of love.
Not the song but what he says
makes her unable to look at him.
Now something else enters the car:
music and exhaust fumes and shyness.
Shyness because the dance
until the end of love is much too much
stretches too far into the past,
too far ahead, his soul
swells suddenly unprotected, so unprotected,
she only says: 'Sentimental'.
Yes he says, sentimental.
She will never know if he knew
how she seized upon that word.
He will never know what she
understood, how far and far,
she will never know that he
understood that she understood
what suddenly came over him, unless
someone, an historian perhaps,
later exactly reconstructs the way it used to go
with people in traffic jams with radios."

- Judith Herzberg

© Translation Rina Vergano