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it is said that you have turned inland

to avoid your own reflection

and that you sometimes do yourself harm

go in through your nose and dig out

a personal mythology

 

it is said that you lack simultaneous capability

as if the particulars were too plentiful

that you are unable to take that step back

in order to take in the whole picture

when silence is frenetically talked about

you already lie in the pasture and say nothing

the sun shines through the cow’s udder

 

it is said that you have withdrawn

made a rough necklace of dried

pike-heads and rattle around out there

hunched over the bogs

your figure has been spotted from forestry machines

when you have split boulders with the force of fire

and escaped with short quick steps

 

one knows that you were comfortable around books

you sounded your way through the libraries

and placed foreign objects

between the pages of certain selected

passages: dead insects

empty cartridges, fish remains

 

it is said that you have read too many books in a university town

small flayed-off bits of your skin have been found

stretched up inside dilapidated barns

 

it is said that your course of action lacks all logic

one knows that you primary live off fish and berries

but speak of you as the worst thing since the wolf

 

one knows that you work at night

steal laundry from the outlaying farms

and stretch bright sheets between the trees

that you use to catch fat nocturnal butterflies

you carry with you a handcrafted knife

with it you whittle bubbles in seawater

thin and full of promise night after night

 

it is said that you have withdrawn

in order to braid a winter coat from birch bark

to await the first snow and go into hibernation

in the abandoned dens of she-bears

one has found loose pages from your diary

has managed to decipher symbols for man weapon dog

a search-line scattered in the wind

© Pär Hansson, translated by Jennifer Hayashida