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I said, There are fewer pills than there should be.

He said, A robot counts them.

My earlobe is torn. Can it be mended?

Probably, but by whom and how?

A needle and thread? A robot? Glue?

Have you noticed things in general seem torn?

Can they be mended? By what or whom?

I sometimes wish I could start again

in that other field with the magenta sky.

What to do with these ashes? What

to play when everyone is quiet and fearful?

Play some tunes from the border. Some

lyrics from the distant past of another country,

a place where no one knows the word robot.

The names are scented but blurry; they fall

down a mercantile ravine, awash with

meaning and the equations of logic

ripped from documents and thrown overboard.

The children are delighted; they cannot read.

They love the mighty mud and the relic tin cans.

What is that? they ask, staring at a rusty R.

It’s the beginning of something that ended long ago.


Ann Lauterbach

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translated from the Ukrainian written by
Halyna Kruk