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Maudlin metaphors hang
from the bough like dead swans


here is a life that withdraws from the subject
at dinner slowly grows inwardly 

and although my voice box reiterates a laryngeal
gets entangled in itself (that bird-black 

and that your thoughts of a tree consist of this
a flock that cannot think of a better place)

won’t listen because everything recalls –
would you like white and points towards –


or red but my fear that it isn’t a flock at all
is greater than my dread of death 


yes red please.
Game soup is served. 

Can someone chase away these lonesome swans?
They cut figures of eight in the waterway. 

Then I will let the night tree take root in me 
and sway. Seek images for serene. 

I spill birds on the tablecloth.





Translation from Dutch by Donald Gardner

Poem from A city rises (2017) Maria Barnas

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