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A Photograph of a Crowd

In a photograph of a crowd
my head seventh from the edge,
or maybe four in from the left
or twenty up from the bottom;

my head, I can't tell which,
no more the one and only, but already one of many,
and resembling the resembling,
neither clearly male nor female;

the marks it flashes at me
are not distinguishing marks;

maybe The Spirit of Time sees it,
but he's not looking at it closely;

my demographic head
which consumes steel and cables
so easily, so globally,

unashamed it's nothing special,
undespairing it's replaceable;

as if it weren't mine
in its own way on its own;

as if a cemetery were
dug up, full of nameless skulls
of high preservability
despite their mortality;

as if it were already there,
my any head, someone else's--

where its recollections, if any,
would stretch deep into the future.

--Wislawa Szymborska
(translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak)



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