Barbara KöhlerAndrew Shields


Ingeborg Bachmann stirbt in Rom/Ingeborg Bachmann Dies in Rome

One death comes
before another.
Breath and smoke.
And smoke which puts out breath.
And silence.

But sometimes only a cigarette
helps you keep your grip. And keeps
its promises more quickly, too.
Between yellowed fingers
it burns like love becomes ashes
like betrayal. Breath and smoke.

The three fingers of oath curved
around the cigarette: to
not forswear.
Giordano burns on the Campo de Fiori.
The bells of Santa Maria Maggiore
are still pealing for the auto-da-fé.