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Wislawa Szymborska

He was back. Said nothing.

But it was clear something unpleasant had occurred.

He lay down in his suit.

Hid his head under the blanket.

Drew up his knees.

He’s about forty, but not at this moment.

He exists - but only as much as in his mother’s belly

behind seven skins, in protective darkness.

Tomorrow he is lecturing on homeostasis

In metagalactic space-travel.

But now he’s curled up and fallen asleep.


Translated by Adam Czerniawski.

From Shearsman 5 (1982)