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Two Poems Poorly Translated On Baseball During Wartime photo


Like silly boys / that have no care / for deeds of war, / they are plucked / from the
fields / of that island / that is only half an island, / tormented by ocean, by sun, / by
tourists. / Soon they will be / from this island / but not on the island, / soon they
will put the word ‘reminisce’ / to good use, / by swinging a branded stick, /
slapping a white / ball. / They will remember / the rocky beach, / the vexing traffic, / an orange starfish / in the hands / of someone / who has kidnapped it /
from its home. / And as the batted ball / sails / their way / in the outfield / they
will think / it is the future, / again, / terribly again, / come to take them / away.    


they were prisoners of war / they ate meals given to them apoplectically /
diminished, sad-hatted / after months they started to look like insects, thought /
their captors with a laugh / large insects, exoskeletoned with/by/for grief

then something funny happened / after months of imprisonment, / handled like /
animals, less than / animals, / they started playing baseball

a guard, rifle resting on shoulder, noticed / one evening under the strange evening /
lights of that country’s sky / the prison’s field, in shadow and light, / had been made
into a diamond 


image: Katie Armstrong