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I talked to the girl selling vegetables—
without any problems—
without any remarks—
without any remarks or rudeness
on the one side or the other—
without any discussion of who weighed what
or who didn’t give the other enough
money.
without any sexual subtext.
flirtatiously,
but without any sexual subtext,
it couldn’t be otherwise.
professors or bikers—no,
she likes
the guys who work as janitors at the nearby hospital,
and I like little intellectual girls with sharp tongues.
we talked about this and that,
that’s all, and it couldn’t have been otherwise.
but if I’d been someone else, and
she’d been someone else,
and someone from the side had seen how this thick warm charge
passed through us;
then we’d both have been swept from our places by this wave
and ripped from our roots,
from our universes,
and at that point, as we spun and circled in sterile passages
seriously, happily,
suspended in a solution of tranquilizers,
already living in a cooling world,
I’d have said to her:
“young girl who sells vegetables from a little stand near the metro,
you should know
you’ve aged about eight years in the year I’ve been noticing,
and you were made up like a middle-aged whore,
and what’s more you were leaning slightly forward,
so that, with the way your shirt fell, I could see your large breasts,
and I swear to you, those were not the breasts of a twenty-year-old girl,
or however old you were last year;
but I had a thought:
they say that Italian prostitutes used to use semen
as an anti-aging cream,
they would rub it on their chests and faces,
and maybe, I think, if I were to rub
onto your round, puffy, debauched, pretty-girl-next-door face,
all the semen I’ve rubbed over it in my fantasies,
then maybe you wouldn’t be in such a bad spot right now.”
but it didn’t happen, it couldn’t have happened,
because we all live in our illusions, like sheep,
and none of us can really help one another with anything.

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