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this legend chooses its own path

by Ulrike Almut Sandig
Translated from German by
Bradley Schmidt

it could be that we will stay where we are. opposites
at the table, in the hands the crusts of a previous day’s bread
we can’t keep anything to ourselves: the crumbs trampled down
onto tiles, this legend chooses its own path, we are lacking
material, no question, something cools out from below
there is no way back to form, we come from nowhere,
we have never been anywhere else, our eyes fixed
each other throughout so no one is first to make
a move toward the window, toward the draft,
toward the southern forest.

Born in Großenhain, Germany, in 1979, Ulrike Almut Sandig started publishing her poetry by pasting it on construction fences. She has published three volumes of poetry, a story collection, and two audiobooks of poetry and pop music. Her second story collection, Buch gegen das Verschwinden (The Book against Disappearance), was published in 2015. Her poems have been translated into many languages, including the chapbook Missing Witness (Ugly Duckling Presse). Sandig lives with her family in Berlin.
Translator
Bradley Schmidt grew up in rural Kansas, where he studied German literature before moving to Germany. He is based in Leipzig, working as a freelance translator and editor, as well as teaching translation and writing classes at Leipzig University. His translation of Lea Schneider’s Invasion in Reverse received an honorable mention for the 2019 Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation. He is coeditor at No Man’s Land.