His Leg Was Repatriated

“His Leg Was Repatriated,” by Tomaž Šalamun, translated by Matthew Moore. Translator’s notes are accompanying this poem.

‘Once a Chicken, Always a Chicken’, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

I found myself in the pirated version,
a gravedigger’s hands pushed

into my villi. Sentencehood. Ostrich.
Bulls on his hands. If I step on

the nose of the ship, the ship blows.
If I step on its buttock, the ant shits.

I’m asked why these beasts are
here. I sack them. I toss ’em in

the salted sea. Beasts dyed up to their
necks in crystallography. MacMillan!

Shostakovich and Poulenc frisk each other.
Oxford is blissful. Isaiah folded his covers.

His leg was Ashkali. The waterfall is open
before customary hours. It is hot. It is true.