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Death of the Ferret

Jean Follain, translated from the French by W.S. Merwin

Inside a burrow, he
made his way to the haggard rabbit,
sucked its blood,
gorged, bloated, fell asleep;
the smoke of heather fires
lit by close-fisted peasants
failed to rouse him
from a mortal torpor.
On the road those little girls
with hearts as clearly veined
as lilac leaves
were coming back.
The bled rabbit remained odorless
but ferrets when vexed
give off a gloomy stench
which lingers on sadly after their twilit death.

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