Shoe-Polish                      Marcel Beyer

o

Polish, in perfect state,

cracked on the edges,

brittle yet black, steady now

 

they rub them, Bert, Bertha, Lenny, Martha,

Walter from their early age, shine those shoes,

evenly, burnish them to perfection

 

it holds, it holds not, but the leather already

glistens, broken shoe laces, I'm half an ancestor,

half a supporting role with black fingernails

 

and a half sentence on the lips, for in a fully

false place, that's how one rubs the time, like

me, away, over the steady worn out skin,

 

brittle tone, one rubs more, ever

more, steady sound, the other half, and one leaves

the skin, tanned, soft

 

and finally there, where shined

leather disappears, I am

not there, I am stowed away in the box.

o

translated by Natalija Grgorinic & Ognjen Raden