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from the July 2016 issue

Coral Reef

Imaginary distances
part from this spot,
mirages which tell
of the true distances between us.
A man planted
in front of the window
is a ghost of himself
suspended by improbable
lines and colors.
We are him
and he is all of us
as if we were
yet
the city
around him.
We are him
and his slumped shoulders.
We are him
and his face gnawed by fish.
We are him
and the narrow streets
that cut across him
and stick through him
like poles
shackles
and other senseless forms of nostalgia
(like all forms of nostalgia).
A statue
observes
the constellation of waters.
Its grey clothing
stirs
and, for a moment, slips on
the river’s bare skin.
The man stirs, too,
and with him the
city stitched
into our skin.
Everything fits on a stamp
or in a single drag on a cigarette.
Everything fits in the green
nearest to white.
Everything clamors:
an hour hand gone berserk.
We are real
and we are nothing.
And this is everything.

 

© Micheliny Verunschk. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2016 by Eric M. B. Becker. All rights reserved.

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