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Erri De Luca, translated by Patrick Williamson

Two voices

They say: you are south. No, from the great parallel,
we are the equator, the centre of the earth.

Our skin blackened from the most unswerving light,
we detach from the half of the world, not the south.

Our heels thump on the carpet of Saharan winds,
the beauty salon of night, the stars suspended.

Water on one shoulder, a bundle on the other,
coat, and shirt, and prayer book.

The sky is straight, a path marked out,
shorter than the undulating earth.

At evening, we patch leather sandals with gut thread
and bone needle, all has value, but the knife the most.

Lord of this world you made us miserable and masters
of your vastness, you gave us a name to call you.

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