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Poetry

I strive to live as if I were going to die tomorrow.
The steady breathing of my sleeping wife, the taste of gherkin, the odor
of soil and of dill, of smoke suspended over
the fields, the sight of a couple necking on the dunes
—that’s too much. They say that every day brings us
closer to death. But in actual fact every
day distances us from death. What has happened
to me? Is it because of my brother, who drove off
on red into the blue yonder? Because of my father, who rose again
after seven hours, with his heart cut up, surprised
to be alive, frail and tearful? Perhaps. But maybe
it happened chiefly because of the gherkin, the squirrel,
the summer shower, all of the colors, odors, and textures,
which bear comparison with nothing.

 

Translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones


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