Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2011 v10n1
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“I Reject All Likeness . . . ”
     I reject all likeness with other men.
     I have this privilege. And I will keep it.
     –Umberto Saba (“Privilegio”)
     (trans. George Hochfield and Leonard Nathan)

The first shock must have been when the neighbor
said he felt the same thing. A chill upon waking,
an irritation, a sickness at being so well thought of,
when all he wanted was to be solitary, as if I were
a single stem in a thimble of soil and the single leaf
that appeared on the first sunny morning would be
forever green, forever itself, devouring the flower
before it formed, until it bloated and pulled the thimble
of soil up into itself and then became a sphere
without angles or edges, a world that floated away,
hawks and crows careening away from it, the half-
drizzle, half-hail from a thunderhead falling not on it
but around it, so that it moved in its own airless
bubble drawn upward to the stars, where it disappeared.  end

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