…Paul Celan said that the poem was no different from a handshake. I cannot see any basic difference between a handshake and a poem—is how Rosmary Waldrop translated his German. The handshake is our decided ritual of both asserting (I am here) and handing over (here) a self to another. Hence the poem is that—Here. I am here. This conflation of the solidity of presence with the offering of this same presence perhaps has everything to do with being alive.
Or the meaning of here is “In this world, in this life, on this earth. In this place or position, indicating the presence of,” or in other words, I am here. It also means to hand something to somebody—Here you are. Here, he said to her. Here both recognizes and demands recognition. I see you, or here, he said to her. In order for something to be handed over a hand must extend and a hand must receive. We must both be here in this world in this life in this place indicating the presence of.
— Claudia Rankine, Don’t Let me Be Lonely: An American Lyric