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  • The Tailor’s Requiem, and: Harvesting, and: Ode, of My Country
  • José Kozer (bio)
    Translated by Peter Boyle (bio)

The Tailor’s Requiem

This man, on the warp unravels the threads that would need  the bias to shape the  fabric (then) they call  for the cutter to run his  shears down the path  traced by the chalk (that)  is covered over: the night  is cold; it has come.

Ah, he stretches out the palm of his right hand (ah) the speck of  cotton, it has a burr:  scattering, the  fabrics (let all be covered).

His hand (everyone’s) on his head (at) the crown the round shape  of skullcaps, blessing  (the fabric): the tailor  unravels the threads that  at God’s direction will be  shaped into skullcaps,  the crowned flesh of the  scalp stays standing  smooth (skin) (ah, it’s  all sores, now) of beasts of  burden, His works: like a  horse blanket (fleur-de-lis,  black background) the cloth  covers the lower flesh  of the four beasts,  dressed up. [End Page 49]

Plumes, tanned saddle of beasts: useful (clothed)  animals.

The tailor created (domes) curved smooth (they are) the  rump of horses; perfect,  hole punch: he’s  a craftsman our  flawless tailor who  protects the fig trees  with netting spreads  sendal on flowering  tobacco in the fields  (restores) flesh on the  redundant bones of  his dead: that he has  stepped into the enraged  center of clusters of  bumblebees who  spin and spin (flesh);  blind scholars of God,  in their cells.

For me, he came: I was afraid it would be my father, once  again: and raised my hand  to my head (unaware) a reflex  movement.

This one, is different (by profession, the same): his name is  tailor (harp) (David)  (frizzy beard) (strong  calves) (a hard  beehive, his heart):  nothing to do with  rapid progeny of  edible bread his  (different) crumb;  how, where do I  gather words the  sound of a tiny  fleck of words the  strand (manna) of  words to say (now) [End Page 50]   this tailor is in the  damp depths of a  backroom of a street  we can call Villegas  (Delancey) Gorojovaia  street (he is) in the  lepidoptera depths the  damp depths of (sacred,  animal) flesh: leap  (leap) toward me.

I bow, as I germinate to gather the cotyledons with  which the tailor shaped  the (filigreed) geometric  borders at the edges of, his  cloth: I cover myself.

My hand, to my head: in the left lapel some grass (it will  flower, pangola): here beasts  will come to graze where  my pauper’s suit was  (my white clothes): they’re  not enough for me to  speak of God the old seven-  branched candelabra the  frieze of repeated blue on  white (linen) background  of a stole: I lift, this book of  psalms so he may know me.

In the end, I am nobody: the tailor’s son.

He died, hired horses pulled the carriage in which they  transported his perfect  carrion with striped  pants long black (shirt)  of (the craftsman) tailor:  led from the depths of  a backroom to his  conclave of (crumbling)  earth: it rained, in the  north in the south all [End Page 51]   night it was cold the  fig tree suddenly  withered, in the back  yard: a birch tree in  spring, shed its  leaves; in the place  we will return to, in the  middle of the tropics, a  ceiba tree died, covered  in frost.

It doesn’t matter is of (no) interest: the tree’s seedpods, fell:  threads of fabrics  disintegrated like  dust, all chalk.

Nothing: the constructor is different. My father is one more  of his offshoots who took  the profession of tailor  everyday (bumblebee): he  concocted (and)  concocted complete  fabrics of living myopia  seated one foot on a  footstool the sharp edge  of his pupil piercing the  flesh (lifting) a thread to  the sky (poor) bumblebee:  he dressed me dressed  (countries): (febrile) at the  end he shared out, his  threads; (offshoots splices of  linen blue (fields), of cotton:  (spliced) we have remained  hand in hand both watching it  snow (here) outside (hand in  hand) watching threads on  a slant snow in the sky  (you, cashmere suit so you  look like a nobleman despite  the...


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