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A Children's Story

Poem by Louise Glück, via NYRB. 

Tired of rural life, the king and queen
return to the city,
all the little princesses
rattling in the back of the car
singing the song of being:
I am, you are, he, she, it is—
But there will be
no conjugation in the car, oh no.
Who can speak of the future? Nobody knows anything about the future,
even the planets do not know.
But the princesses will have to live in it.
What a sad day the day has become.
Outside the car, the cows and pastures are drifting away;
they look calm, but calm is not the truth.
Despair is the truth. This is what
mother and father know. All hope is lost.
We must return to where it was lost
if we want to find it again.

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