Asbestos

Poem By Maarja Kangro

So, as a child, you say?
You jumped,
and the pile of Eternit cracked?
Blue sneakers, white chrysotile.
I saw the enlargement
of a 10 micrometre fiber
entering the respiratory system.
A piece of Eternit
was meant to be smoked fish?
You nibbled at it
like original sin?
Like the tree of the knowledge of good and evil:
actually, you don't feel anything,
don't understand much,
10μm, a construction worker in filthy trousers,
an agony of an ignorant mind,
20 or 40 years, pleural plaques, mesothelioma,
scar tissue in the lungs.
Yes, every year, it seems, the lilac blooms,
and sometimes a big passion.
The fiber descends very slowly
and invisibly like the future.
Oh, don't be mad now!
Look, this is my new favourite wine.
I'll buy. Let's have a glass tonight.

Translated by the author and Brandon Lussier

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