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Have you seen God yet
how he’s rushing to arrive on time by two thirty
responsibility responsibility
you approach neither the beginning nor the end
immovable tethered
instead of swinging your legs like that
responsibility responsibility
a world without nature
a world without talking
trees are irresponsible as they grow
and what does the word have to do with it
the sun doesn’t need it when it sets
nor the sky which is only blue and nothing else
whom did God ask
when he created the butterfly the way it is
when he could have made its legs fifteen centimeters across
responsibility responsibility
baroque sustenance of the nation



Translated from the Slovenian by Brian Henry



Tomaž Šalamun (1941–14) published more than fifty books of poetry in his native Slovenian. Translated into over twenty-five languages, his poetry received numerous awards, including the Jenko Prize, the Prešeren Prize, the European Prize for Poetry, and the Mladost Prize. In the 1990s, he served as the cultural attaché for the Slovenian embassy in New York.

Brian Henry has published eleven books of poetry, most recently Permanent State (Threadsuns), as well as a book of prose, Things Are Completely Simple: Poetry and Translation (Parlor). He has translated numerous books from Slovenian.




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