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self-portrait as youth with cherries

by Norbert Hummelt

translated from the German by Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright

close your corporeal eyes, little one.
turn in the darkness
not towards the cellar stairs
not towards the secret place in the fence
hidden deep under the creeping ivy
where the wire is not
twisted around, but
legs are crossed slackly.
just keep your eyes closed, there’s
no one here. the laundry room lies before you
as if untouched, & what you
held in your hands like a shield
no one can make
out anymore, maybe
a toy, a camera

only the morello cherries so high on the tree
(not the air-gun
when the birds came here): these you
remember, otherwise they’re invisible.


Norbert Hummelt (b. 1962) is author of knackige codes (crackling codes, Galrev, 1993) and singtrieb (singinstinct, Urs Engeler, ed., 1997), a book with a CD. He lives in Cologne. (2000)

Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright is a literary translator who lives in Waltham, Mass. She spent a year in Berlin translating work by non-native German authors, and her translations of the German-Turkish poets Zafer Senocak and Zehra Çirak have appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, Delos, and Dimension2. She recently translated Ernst Peter Fischer’s Beauty and the Beast: The Aesthetic Moment in Science. She works as a German-language financial typesetter. (2000)


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