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This poem is taken from PN Review 231, Volume 43 Number 1, September - October 2016.

Two Poems Shlomo Laufer
Reading a Poem

I stood on the podium and read
A poem. The audience broke out in loud applause.
They wept and wailed. From high in the gallery
Came moans of rapture. Anguish gnawed at people’s hearts.
They clasped their heads, looked down at
The balustrade. A woman stripped herself and threw
Her breasts at me. An old man died in his seat.
People rent their clothes. Bladders
Burst, the ceiling caved in and God loomed forth
In utter horror: Had He missed
Something hitherto unknown?

And there I stood, stock-still on the podium,
Transmuted into earth and water, while flames rushed
Through the inferno of my words.



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