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Every other day I am an invalid.

Lie back amng the pillows and white sheets

lackadaisical O lackadaisical.

Brush my hair out like a silver fan.

Allow myself to be wheeled into the sun.

Calves'-foot jelly, a mid-morning glass of port,

these I accept and rare azaleas in pots.

The nurses humour me. The call me 'dear'.

I am pilled and pillowed into another sphere

and there my illness rules us like a queen,

is absolute monarch, wears a giddy crown

and I, its humble servant at all times, am its least

serf on occasion and excluded from the feast.

Every other other day I am as fit

as planets circling.

I brush my hair into a golden sun,

strike roses from a bush,

rare plants into pots

blossom within the green of my eyes, I am

enviable O I am enviable.

Somewhere in between the two, a third

wishes to speak, cannot make itself heard,

stands unmoving, mute, invisible,

a bolt of lightning in its naked hand.

The Selves

P. K. Page

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translated from the Ukrainian written by
Halyna Kruk