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This poem is taken from PN Review 139, Volume 27 Number 5, May - June 2001.

Poems (translated by Michael Hamburger) Günter Kunert

Loss of Memory

Time blots out the names
in our brains. What was the name
of the last Byzantine emperor? And
the first General Secretary?
Mnemosyne, disloyal one,
you've deserted me, and taken
your dowry with you.
Whom can I ask for help when
I don't know anyone now?
Astoroth, Salazar, Timoshenko,
Nicolas, Wendelin, Blasius -
stray frequencies on the receivers,
cell albumen waste.

Let me introduce
myself. I am
who I was and have
already ceased to be.
...


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