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Poem #1022, by Daniel Borzutzky

 

Poem #1022

There is not much excess
and what there is is barely perceptible
the blank ones disappear from our vision
no one notices until
there is a dramatic decrease in surplus value

the war is born
and the blank ones disappear again
but really their disappearance is subjective
some see no one
while others see everyone

for some the extermination of the cancer
is inseparable from the decreation of the city
others associate the decreation
with an unstoppable flow of leakage
while others associate the decreation
with falling rates of profit
and the barely perceptible
appearance of the human body

out of the dead refugee sprouts
a breathing poem

out of the dead soldier sprouts
a breathing poem

out of the dead city sprouts
a breathing poem

but when the city disappears
so do the poems

and when the poems disappear
the dead are assassinated

picture a heart covered in dust
and picture a poem sprouting out of it

picture a heart covered in dust
and picture a child chasing it

picture a bullet that kills a child
and picture the soldier who tosses the child into the sea

the soldier kisses the earth and says
it’s not my fault the people are being born and dying

the pastor calls out the names of the children to the congregants

to each name they respond
dead

 

Daniel Borzutzky is a poet and translator. His latest books are Lake Michigan, a finalist for the 2018 Griffin International Poetry Prize; and The Performance of Becoming Human, winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Poetry. His translation of Galo Ghigliotto’s Valdivia won the 2017 National Translation Award. He has also translated books by Raúl Zurita and Jaime Luis Huenún. He teaches in the English and Latin American and Latino Studies Departments at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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