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Young Cops

Tomaž Šalamun

All young cops have soft
mild eyes. Their upbringing is lavish.
They walk between blueberries and ferns,
rescuing grannies from rising waters.
With the motion of a hand they ask for
a snack from those plastic bags. They
sit down on tree stumps, looking at valleys
and thinking of their moms. But woe is me
if a young one gets mad. A Scourge
of God rings, with a club that later you can
borrow to blot your bare feet.
Every cop wears a cap, his head murmuring under it
A sled rushes down a slope in his dreams.
Whomever he kills, he brings spring to,
whomever he touches has a wound inscribed.
I would give my granny and my
grandpa, my mom and my pa, my wife
and my son to a cop to play with.
He would tie up my granny’s white hair,
but he’d probably chop up my son
on the stump of a tree. The cop himself would be sad
that his toy was broken. That’s the way they are
when smoking pot: melancholy. They take off
their caps and breathe their tears into them.
Actually, they’re like camels riding
in the desert, as if it were the wet palm of a hand.

Used with permission by Harcourt, Copyright 2006.

Used with permission by Harcourt, Copyright 2006.

Tomaž Šalamun

by this poet

poem
Quick ostrich. Quick ostrich. Quick sand. Quick sand.
Quick lime. Quick grass. The white juice from celeste Aida,
and forgot-to-take-it dries up. The one

trampled by sheep (down below), Grischa and Beatrice
(up above) converse. They'd recognize each other in
a cover, a box, a jacket, a picture, in moss and