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Whispering Villages

by Silke Scheuermann

translated from the German by Chris Michalski

though our cities are always trying
to lift us closer to heaven
lending us lookout points
balconies terraces.
though they claim from up there you can see
the tenderest point in the universe
a deafening hum with a blue center
and lure us up stairs and elevators
show us infinite safety precautions
rails and nets
the beauty
of lit-up billboards
vices so tiny next to them we feel enormous
though down here we’re almost
infatuated with the noise
sometimes we hear the villages whispering
and sometimes we believe a little
like superman and


Silke Scheuermann, widely considered one of the most talented and visionary German poets of her generation, was born in Karlsruhe in 1973 and now lives in Frankfurt am Main. She is the author of three poetry collections—Der Tag an dem die Möwen zweistimmig sangen (The Day the Seagulls Sang in Two Parts, 2001), Der zärtlichste Punkt im All (The Most Tender Place in the Universe, 2004), and Über Nacht ist es Winter (Overnight It’s Winter, 2007)—a story collection, Reiche Mädchen (Rich Girls, 2005), and a novel, Die Stunde zwischen Hund und Wolf (The Hour Between Dog and Wolf, 2007).

Chris Michalski’s poetry and translations have appeared in Poetry International, Puerto del Sol, The Marlboro Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and elsewhere.  He is the author of a chapbook, paper route and other poems (littlefishcart press, 2007), and his manuscript of selected poems by Silke Scheuermann, “Voyages over Snow,” is looking for a publisher. (1/2009)

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