by Angela Krauß
translated from the German by Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright
Abruptly they stand before you,
as you push open a strange door.
Alone and alert
they stand in the shadowy hallway.
And so small,
only their gaze stops
you from stumbling over them:
Or they surround you,
a dozen on the subway platform
in a strange city underneath the earth,
with their puzzling
Up to now you’ve been firmly convinced
when it comes down to it there is a limit
because we all unfortunately
have our limits.
But stubbornly they hold their small faces,
bright as dishes,
Angela Krauß (b. 1950), famous for her prose, writes poetry only occasionally but always impressively. She lives in Leipzig. (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)