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PAPRIKA
Walking through the supermarket at night
past the green flash of salads,
behind the two teens holding hands –
the girl picks out lemons and sweet peppers
and lets the boy hold them, then laughs and puts them back.
It’s ten to ten, before this they argued
for a long time, she wanted to leave, he convinced her to stay;
pockets full of green stuff,
gold Assyrian coins, painkillers,
sweet love, enchanted paprika.

take us out, come on, take us out, the dank soul, every dead fruit, the blood of
strawberries, and fish killed by old ship propellers in southern states, minced
with earrings and British punk pins, their gills stuffed with
caffeine, black disease, turning away from the green light, they groan as if begging

take us out from here, come on, take us out to the nearest bus stop, to the nearest
gas station, to the nearest cool ocean, they seem to signal, bending
their dank souls, till the propellers in the night skies above the supermarket
wreck the juicy air, and the caffeine stains your fingernails

take them out, well come on, hide the warm green flashes in your pockets, place silver and gold coins under your tongue, take us to the nearest hiding place, to the nearest stadium,
blood for blood, the lord calls us, moving our fins

Since I won’t ever be able to hold anyone
the way he holds her, I can’t simply pass by
all this still life, I hesitated too long,
didn’t have the strength to move, so now I have to follow them.

Where you are now, you must know what awaits them, right? where
you wound up, you can predict everything – two or three more years of golden
teenage swooning in the August grass, squandering coins on all kinds of
poisons and that’s it – memory fills the place in you once occupied by tenderness.

Since I won’t ever be able to be afraid for anyone
the way she is afraid for him, I won’t ever be able to give
anything to anyone with the ease with which she places
the warm lemons in his hands;
I will follow them further
through the long exhausting twilight of the supermarket,
with yellow grass underfoot,
dead fish in hand,
warming its heart
with my breath
warming my breath
with its heart.