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Night Visit

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You're dreaming
of Cratoids, Armpullers, the Blownose Dragon.
Who knows what Anna Brichtova dreamed about, the girl
who comes looking for us tonight with her mosaic
of colored paper: her house
with its red roof, some trees on a green lawn,
the sky—outside, the concentration camp.
This is the real gift
I brought back from Prague without telling you.
It was with me on the train the morning
I thought I was living in hell: Stuttgart,
or south of there, amid a drone
of people working—they don't know at what
or for whom, but they're working, pressing keys,
sending messages to unknown persons through the air.
Nothing but eyes and fingers, nothing
but one day after the next, interminable
passage of a time that doesn't vary, that belongs
forever to others, to something
outside themselves, and the fear, the hatred
of one pariah for another, this brawl
of lost souls, of new slaves. The Great
Drinker of Beer, the Woman Staring into Space,
Mazinger Z: these were my traveling companions.

Who knows what Anna Brichtova dreamed about,
or what you're dreaming now, or how
you children see the world. Will you find,
among your games, the game that saves us?
It's what we all are hoping
as we watch you sleep.

Source: Poetry (December 2007)

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This poem originally appeared in the December 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

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Night Visit

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