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Poetry

Face (still life)

By Niels Lyngsø
Translated from Danish by Gregory Pardlo

What’s the deal with your face, Dad?
It seems abandoned. You
are not dead, but your face: as if
immersed in water. Your skin
is colorless and molten
— the eyes impossible
to penetrate, buried
behind a mask
of high tension wires,
subtle electric growl.
You vent short gusts,
like those from the bellows
we use for the hearth: Your
eyebrows crease together,
lips drawn taut, nose expels
air and silence. You
slouch a little, look away.
Your hair is impeccably coiffed.

“Face (still life)” © Niels Lyngsø. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2015 by Gregory Pardlo. All rights reserved.

English

What’s the deal with your face, Dad?
It seems abandoned. You
are not dead, but your face: as if
immersed in water. Your skin
is colorless and molten
— the eyes impossible
to penetrate, buried
behind a mask
of high tension wires,
subtle electric growl.
You vent short gusts,
like those from the bellows
we use for the hearth: Your
eyebrows crease together,
lips drawn taut, nose expels
air and silence. You
slouch a little, look away.
Your hair is impeccably coiffed.

“Face (still life)” © Niels Lyngsø. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2015 by Gregory Pardlo. All rights reserved.

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