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Real Hands

Yannis Ritsos, translated from the Greek by Minas Savvas

He who without explanation vanished one afternoon (perhaps
they carried him away) left on the kitchen table
his woolen gloves like two severed hands—
bloodless, unprotesting, serene, or rather
like his very own hands, slightly swollen, robust,
with the lukewarm air of a very ancient forbearance. There,
between the slack, woolen fingers
we place from time to time a slice of bread, a flower,
or the glass with our wine, reassured
that at least on gloves they cannot clasp handcuffs.

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