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Draft of a Reparations Agreement

From "World Poetry," edited by Katharine Washburn, John S. Major and Clifton Fadiman (W.W. Norton: 1,338 pp., $45)

All right, gentlemen who cry blue murder as always,

nagging miracle-makers,

quiet!

Everything will be returned to its place,

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paragraph after paragraph.

The scream back into the throat.

The gold teeth back to the gums.

The terror.

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The smoke back to the tin chimney and further on and inside

back to the hollow of the bones,

and already you will be covered with skin and sinews and you will live,

look, you will have your lives back,

sit in the living room, read the evening paper.

Here you are. Nothing is too late.

As to the yellow star: immediately

it will be torn from your chest

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and will emigrate

to the sky. Translated from the Hebrew by Stephen Mitchell


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