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Threesome, Foursome

In the dooryard, puckered mint,
you pucker back, you leaf a hint.

Mind this hour, it is your time,
mine the mouth and yours the rhyme.

Mine’s the mouth, though it is still,
full of words that will not fill.

Some spell narrowness, some breadth,
all recall the brush with death.

I make one, and we make three,
one half bound, one half free.

In the dooryard, puckered mint,
you pucker back, you leave a hint.

–Paul Celan

(translated from the German by Nikolai Popov and Heather McHugh)

Originally published in the October/November 2000 issue of Boston Review



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