So that He Could Sleep, So that He Could Wake Up

 Athens by Night by myblue7

Insignificant Needs
by Yiannis Ritsos, from Subterranean Horses, translated by Minas Sarras

The houses jammed one on top of the other,

or face to face without exchanging glances. The elbows

of the chimneys shove each other in the night. The bakery's light

is a sigh that allows a small passage on the street.

A cat looks behind her. Vanishes. A man

entered his room. On his blanket,

over his iron bed, he found reclining

the crowded desolation of the city. As he was undressing,

he recalled that he hadn't noticed if there was a moon.

The bulks of the houses were shuffling in his memory

like cards in a closed, secretive gambling room

where all the players had lost. And he needed to imagine

that someone must love him, within these numberless houses,

so that he could sleep, so that he could wake up.

But, yes, of course there was a moon — he remembered

its illumination in a ditch with soapy water.