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father asked: write a poem about me
how I was young, how I was, period
played the guitar, chased a soccer ball in the field,
bouncing it with my head high into the sky

how I returned home
to our apartment
that smelled of oatmeal and Saturday laundry
with a tapestry hanging on the wall

(on the tapestry
a man and a woman
woven in red
ride a pair of black horses)

no, father, I kept saying, I can’t
I don’t know how to write about it
it’s too close
it’s too close, and so it doesn’t seem real

alright, he sighed, and went to work
exchanged his fedora for a baseball hat
his guitar for a church choir and soccer for a car
nobody cooked oatmeal anymore, but the tapestry stayed

and then he stopped asking
he realized that I’ll never write about him
but we have a cat, he chuckled
write about a cat
a red cat with white spots
a red cat with a white voice

if I don’t make it into your writing, at least let the cat remain

woven out of air

the original poem

translated by oksana maksymchuk

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