For Tomas Transtromer

Happy the man or woman who owns a few books, who drinks tea. We rehearse a few words in case there really is a God. And others in case there isn’t. Years ago an old man stopped me on the street in Helsinki and wagged his forefinger. “Why do you say you see? You don’t see! You understand!” He was a ghost of a certain kind. He was conveying his rehearsal. Giving me words.

Before that day I didn’t know people could rise from books and appear before you on the street. That night, with a few books and a cup of tea I knew I’d met Strindberg. 

“I dream, therefore I exist,” he wrote. And I copied this into my notebook with a leaky fountain pen.