Kevin McLellan :: Rendition of Maurice Blanchot’s When the Time Comes translated by Lydia Davis


The shiver of a day
doesn’t yet know itself.

I was near the window
and the window was open.

The daylight fading very fast
should be surprising.

A cry “give me a glass
of water” rose up in me.

Perhaps I was holding
the outcome in my hands.

As I drank I became
aware that the water

was late and it didn’t
get along with my thirst.



These hours go by
without touching

and they ignore me
after knowing me.

The memory of
my arrival had no place

behind these walls.
For me this room

was the world with its bed
in the middle.

As though I had not been
touched at this moment

but centuries ago,
that my life was taking place

somewhere else
but turning faster and faster

in a furious vertigo.
In order to obey this

uncertainty I got up.
I didn’t have the impression

I was walking.
All the quiet noises

attacking the thickness
of the night

I didn’t want to turn towards.
I didn’t make much noise.



In the emptiness of the air
I heard the distinct sound

of something opening
and closing.

A man who is moving
towards the day?

Was the day trying
to show itself?

The morning burns.
Such a narrow light

so irresolute and detached
leaving room

for what was essential.
I would sometimes stare

through the window
for a long time

at those beams
supporting the entrance

but I was struck by a cloud.
I had to adjust

to the different air
at the end of morning.

Read Kevin McLellan’s Erasure of Kevin McLellan’s Rendition of Maurice Blanchot’s Death Sentence translated by Lydia Davis in print.