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102 the minnesota review Osip Mandelstam translated by Michael Cole and Karen Kimball 286. We live, not feeling die ground under us. At ten paces not even our words are heard, and when there are enough people for halfa conversation the topic turns to the Kremlin mountaineer. His diick fingers are like elusive, slippery worms, but his words are certain as pound weights. His cockroach whiskers laugh. His boot-tops shine. Around him, a rabble ofthin-necked captains. He plays with the service ofthese half-men— some whine, some meow, some snivel. He alone prods and strikes. He forges decrees like horseshoessome get it in the groin, some in the forehead, some the eyes. Whatever the torture, he enjoys it— a broad-chested Georgian eating raspberries. 341. Mounds ofhuman heads disappear in die distance, and I am diminished, already unnoticed. But I will come again in tender books and children's games to tell of shining sun. mandelstam 103 349. Alone, I look into the frost's face. He's going nowhere, I'm coming from nowhere, and mat breathing marvel, die steppe, melts, irons itselfout, without a crease. The sun squints in starched misery, but it is a calm, consoled gesture. The forest seems endless, and snow crunches in my eyes, sinless as fresh bread. ...


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pp. 102-103
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