Sunday Poem

Unexpected Meeting

We are very polite to each other,
insist it's nice meeting after all these years.

Our tigers drink milk.
Our hawks walk on the ground.
Our sharks drown in water.
Our wolves yawn in front of the open cage.
Our serpents have shaken off lightning,
monkeys—inspiration, peacocks—feathers.
The bats—long ago now—have flown out of our hair.

We fall silent in mid-phrase,
smiling beyond salvation.
Our people
have nothing to say.

by Wislawa Szymborska
from The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry
Vintage Books, 1996