Nude from Behind, 2005

Ingeborg Bernhard

Journal Entry

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A butterfly just settled on my knee—
some smoke and moonlight smudged with a confetti
of limestone dust. A scattered salt of stars
dissolving near the water’s edge of dawn,
it’s here one moment and the next it’s gone.

Another lands now on this journal entry—
each snowy wing stamped with a single sentry,
a wide unblinking eye, blue iris scarred
and rusted. Nervous fawn or gliding swan,
it’s here one moment and the next it’s gone.

It’s hard to take responsibility
for my own permanence when any breeze
can lift these pages like the wings they are,
exquisitely hand-dated and hand-drawn
with lines here for a moment and then gone.

(21 February, 1999—Petulu, Bali)