procession route
or wearable protectorate
the classrooms lured her like fluorescent plastic ponies

Author: Janin Wölke
Translator: Jake Schneider

procession route: gray line ten minutes long between curved sunkenness and bleak
learning supplies/paradable asleep/comeon the crowd is always gawking: cam
eras out of sight/persistent creeping up: harpooners’ many years of expertise
they must all see I’m doing something wrong why else would she be crying
why else would they be gawking/HOLD THAT PENCIL STEADY!/WRITE
ALONG THE LINE!/the curls and loops and links exact only the whale
tipped over upward downward it was sighted where supposedly

it surfaced/PAY ATTENTION!/INCORRECT!/a thousand eyes
on drapes the writing’s on the grayish linens: mom
and dad are dancing in the house and here is gran
TIGHT!/don’t let it slip away: a whale with a
harpoon jammed into its belly/their
fixed jav’lins in his side he wears
and on his back a grove

of pikes appears

or wearable protectorate. grünberger strasse—wühlisch/grayish line ten min
utes long/paradable asleep/the pipsqueaks sometimes toddle with the crew
or little brother past the rocky penguins/holes in creatures’ skulls/oh that
celebratory orange first essential cigarette/an ernte 23 from fitschy on
the corner/all the pipsqueaks head to market hustle coins unwrap
a rustling glistening packet/laughing yakking puffingpuffing and
pretending we had absolutely sometime in the past for real
whatever/thick-haired boy with warts around his joint:
recoilingtuggingtongues/inside his face it smelled
like squishy stamped-on beetles/neck and neck
chain-smoking three/like spinning for too long
and throwing arms away/m. wails at night
like cow/each night I stand outside
her room hold my heart shut
push blood relation’s face
till he goes quiet runs
away or shatters

the classrooms lured her like fluorescent plastic ponies/aaa—
a perfect learning space: adaptable, acceptable, attractive

the one delightful/raised its arms/and she saw glistening
dark fluff inside its ’pits/disquieted and dumbfounded
learned passé composé in just a single lesson or
adored the german teacher/old, too old by far
who thrived on shady situations/these
solitary stable ties
without a dad
so where was dad?/a pit
ted traffic island near a high-rise:
I see you there not saying anything/a
motorcycle helmet in your hand/you turn
away/bring back a toy piano four years later/and
my hands are delicate/but still can never play/j. needs
to come to terms with present friendships next school year
the wind howls in the rooms when no one’s there a german
teacher falls from the sixth floor in fact that is one question I’ve
been dying to ask you againagain: why didn’t you, particularly you, love me?