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This poem is taken from PN Review 261, Volume 48 Number 1, September - October 2021.

Two Poems (translated by Judith Wilkinson) Roelof Ten Napel
Translated by Judith Wilkinson


they tell you a friend is going to die. they know
you can help, they’ve seen your hands,
what they brought forth.
on purpose you leave too late, this body
must make a point. you arrive at the grave
and though you knew what was to come, and what will come,

you weep.
get to know us.

even what heals hurts, even what rises from the dead
is missed, we know by now that something always
stays behind.

the problem is that you are good, and we aren’t,
that you arranged it that way. we are
a fish put in a puddle –

it’s a cruel man, surely,
who stands beside it

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