Monday, November 9, 2015


The Last Night Bus

The last night bus echoes away

into the depth

of the night's

spinal cord.

Stars shiver

unless they explode.

There are no other civilizations.

Only the gentle

galactic fear

based on methane.

Teaching About Arthropods

The male mite Adactylidium

hatches in his mother's body,

gobbles her up from the inside,

while mating

with all his seven

little sisters.

So, when he's born,

it's as if he were dead:

he's been through it all

and he's freelance,

in the bull's-eye,

in the focus

of extracurricular existence:

an absolute poet,




Distant Howling

In Alsace,

on July 6, 1885,

a rabid dog knocked Joseph Meister down

and bit him fourteen times.

Meister was the first patient

saved by Pasteur's

vaccine, in thirteen

gradually increased doses

of weakened virus.

Pasteur died of ictus

ten years later.

Fifty years later

the watchman Meister

committed suicide

when the Germans

occupied Pasteur's institute

including the poor dogs.

Only the virus

never got involved.

When the Bees Grew Silent

An old man

suddenly died

alone in his garden

under an elderberry bush.

He lay there until dark

when the bees

grew silent.

It was a beautiful death, wasn't it,

Doctor, says

the woman in black

who comes to the garden

as always

every Sunday,

and in her bag brings

lunch for two.

The Dead

After the third operation, his heart

pierced like an old carnival target,

he woke in his bed and said:

Now I'll be fine,

like a sunflower. And have you ever

seen horses make love?

He died that night.

And another one plodded on for eight


like a long-haired water plant

in a sour creek,

as if he stuck his pale face out

on a skewer from behind

the graveyard wall.

Finally the face disappeared.

In both cases the angel of death

stamped his hobnailed boot

on their medulla oblongata.

I know they died the same death.

But I don't believe they're dead

in the same way.


Interferon, or On Theater
translated from the Czech by
David Young and Dana Habova
Field, 1982