It is raining on the empty square.
There is a single taxi at the taxi-rank.
The driver’s wait is a very long one.
He has turned off the engine and it is very cold.
A door opens, a rain-soaked passenger,
tired, bad-tempered: he gives an address.
When they go through a red light, he shouts at him.
Turning round, the driver murmurs:
It is a week since my son died.
Silenced, the passenger sinks back in his seat.
Later on that night, when a group of passengers
board, making a racket, he tells them:
It is a week since my son died.
We’ve all got to die, they reply,
amid clumsy jokes and guffaws.
Comes the time to sign off, back at the garage,
he goes across to the radio-hut:
It is a week since my son died.
Her eyes red with fatigue, Yes,
the woman replies, while she attends to the voices
emanating with other sounds from the transmitter.

This is, in fact, one of Chekhov’s stories.
There it is a coach with a horse, and it is snowing.
I know the taxi-driver will not be able to sleep.
Is death inside the fist raised by life?
Or else, is death the fist in which we are grasped?
In Chekhov’s story, the coachman
will still have the horse to whom he’ll confide
that his son has died. All at once I feel it
inside me, and that fear is turning to ice,
and I light a fire to warm us all,
the taxi-driver, the coachman, me and my dead,
you who are reading me
and Chekhov, and all together we see how life
falls, like snow, in solitude.
A night-train, washed with pink,
at dawn traverses the olive-groves.
Here—weary, full of sleep and, at the same time,
strangely happy—I end this poem.