The hope a mooncalf follows
is sacrifice for slaughter,
and yet the wings of swallows
still skip across the water. 

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Killing Fish

 
What’s she crying about—this old crone eaten away by salt,
This poor sick woman with a petunia in her hat at two?
And why’s this fish doing somersaults
Amid fragile lipsticks and scattered rouge?
 
And why does she keep staring at the fish like that,
What’s its sickly mouth trying to tell her?
Why are old lipsticks fragile and cracked,
And powdered rouge paler and paler?
 
after the Polish of Stanislaw Grochowiak (1934-1976)
translated by Leo Yankevich
first appeared in The Tennessee Quarterly
 
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© by Leo Yankevich
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