Fragments 1953

Translated from the German by Michael Hofmann
A day without tears is a rare occurrence
                culpable absent-mindedness
practically an episode

                                                   •

when men still wore starched collars,
and stuffed cotton wool between their toes
hobbled about in pain, pedicure hadn’t been invented,
but you would see faces that were worth a second look
those were years when something whispered


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