Kostas Karyotakis

(1896-1928 / Greece)

Imaginary Suicides


They turn the key in the door, take out
their old, well-hidden letters,
read them quietly, then drag
their feet a final time.

Their life has been a tragedy, they say.
God! people's frightful laughter,
and the tears, the sweat, nostalgia
of the skies, the landscape's solitude.

They stand there by the window, gazing at
the trees, the children, all of nature,
at the marble-workers hammering away,
the sun that wants to set forever.

It's over. Here's the note --
appropriately short, profound, and simple,
full of indifference and forgiveness
for whoever's going to weep and read it.

They look in the mirror, look at the time,
ask if it's madness maybe, a mistake.
'It's over now' they murmur;
deep down, of course, they're going to put it off.

Submitted: Friday, September 17, 2010

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