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This poem is taken from PN Review 234, Volume 43 Number 4, March - April 2017.

Three Poems
Translated by Igor Klikovac & John McAuliffe
Igor Klikovac
Nettle-Eaters
(Birth of a Language)

Since I first heard about it, I always wanted to see
people eating pain.

Now, as they sit behind the long table, with hands stretched out
onto the white tablecloth, they look like a fed-up delegation,
or an amateur club waiting for the arrival of a grandmaster.

The daydreamy looks show they are reeling in that concentration,
summoning that peace which champions and mass-murderers
walk upon. Whether they’d want to remember or forget something –
who would know, except themselves

but without that, I realise, the whole business is nothing
but a lesson in punctured expectations: noisy, too fast for the eye,
with no revelations or ontological cookie at the end. Something in fact
that pushes itself right out of one’s mind

as soon as the waiters start to lift the plastic basins
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