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Kertész: Latrine

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1

Four poilus in a wood austerely shitting.
Death watches them, laughing, its sides splitting.

Life is a cry followed by laughter.
The body before, the waste after.

                                  2

Could one hear in that wood the gentle click
of  the shutter like the breaking of a stick
or the safety catch on its climacteric

                                  3

Like the four winds. Like a low fart that rips
clean air in two, like urine that drips.
Four squatting footsoldiers of  the Apocalypse.

                                  4

Kiss them lightly, faint breeze in the small  leaves,
be the mop on the brow, the sigh that relieves.

Let them dump and move on into the dark plate
of  the unexposed future, too little and too late.

Source: Poetry (February 2008)

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This poem originally appeared in the February 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

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Kertész: Latrine

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