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Prose Poem By Jean Follain

July 18, 1993| Translated by William Matthews with Mary Feeney

People try to fight time. A pet is a help. But the number of infinitesimal creatures populating a house--how could you ever count them? They occupy the grooves in the floor, the rafters; they settle from peak to foundations, even in the flour supply. If one of them walks on a windowpane, a slender index finger annihilates it: all of it goes under: respiratory and circulatory systems, sense organs. But it might, on the other hand, walking on the rim of a big heavy copper pot, drop into a thick brown sauce, die there like the worker who lost his step and fell into a vat of molten steel one starry night.

From " Selected Poems & Translations 1969-1991 " (Houghton Mifflin: $10.95; 200 pp.). 1992 by William Matthews. Reprinted by permission.

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