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About Death and Other Things

 
by Aleksandar Ristovic
translated by Charles Simic

How strange will be my death, of which I've been thinking since childhood:
A sedentary old man leaving a small-town library
leans to one side and eventually collapses on the lawn.

I've every reason to believe that I'll experience what the others have experienced
while I climb the stairs carrying my supper in a plastic bag,
not even turning to look at the one who in that moment descends curly-haired and
     wearing a party dress.

It could be an ordinary death on a train:
a man who carefully studies the fields and hills in snow,
shuts his eyes folds his hands in his lap, and no longer sees what only a moment ago
     he admired.

I'm trying to remember other possibilities and so, here I am once again,
disguised as myself in a small, merry company,
where, after emptying my glass, I fall on the floor laughing, and pulling after me the
     tablecloth with the vase full of roses.

My death, of course, would have a spiritual meaning
in some mountain sanatorium for the insane
where croaking we complain to each other in beds with freshly changed sheets.

It could happen that I'll die in some way very different from the one I anticipate:
in the company of my wife and daughter, surrounded by books,
while outside a neighbor is trying to start a car that the night has surprised with snow.







From The Horse Has Six Legs: An Anthology of Serbian Poetry edited and translated by Charles Simic. Copyright © 2010 by Aleksandar Ristovic. Used by permission of Graywolf Press.
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