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My Fear, Your Courage

We stay on the trail, but behind

the events. We have nothing but echoes

of our own voices, when we sat in front

of the fireplace, where three men sank

to easy sleep in cinders. Sunbeams flitted

on the wine glasses, we stared at the surface

of things inside their form, hardly disfigured

by agreeing on their names. It’s enormous,

this world, huge with narcissistic thoughts

that evade a wayfarer’s way, poised to take

in each and every courtyard as his own,

but a master only once a century or so.

While the others are in front of the fire,

in a coma since yesterday, I’ve gotten up,

all covered in sweat, again dreaming nuns,

who usher an end to travel at the door before

the zone of no return, on one side of the river

bank, same side every time. I’d prefer to show you

where, between the chimney and the eaves,

the warbler’s nest, I’d fess up to small swindles,

I’m straining my ears like a ram’s horn, to catch

the chords the accordion bellows, elastic

and stretched by a crazy fellow, his sidekick sings along:

fear once put behind you is the start of being proud.

from Without AnesthesiaFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2011
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Published in Ales Debeljak Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.