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I was tired of the shouting and the celery,

the ignitions and navels and telephones.

I moved to a country where everything happened abstractly.

I had heard about this place in some translated poems:

a country filled with suffering and death and hope

and politics, and minds to ponder them constantly.

But I was shocked by the new place, which proved to have many actual things:

mating turtles, good cheap bread, homeless four-year-olds walking the streets,

a museum filled with gold objects worth more than all the governments of South America,

and clouds that offered fog four months per year, though never rain.

I learned that the translators were not there,

but back in my own country amid sofas and taxis and loud music

and slaughtered chickens, wishing for the misery and chance

this other country's poets might provide by turning

dusty shoes to sorrow, potatoes to faith,

loud music to notes that would lay over ours —

doubling our worlds or canceling them out.

Stephen Corey

Mid-American Review

Volume XXIV, Number 2

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