Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature: over 400,000 monthly users

Laure-Anne Bosselaar: Litost


And waters went on with their dance of chance and light

as the boy drowned into the river. The Czech have a word for

what he felt after he ran home with two A’s


and found his dad overdosed on the couch. A word for what

drowned that child. Or for what it is that will keep gutting

a woman’s belly after an abortion; or what weighs, exactly,

in each sheet pulled over a son, lover, daughter, mother.


In each sheet pulled over a son, lover, daughter, mother,

litost weighs. After the auction of his last tractor, it is litost

that plows into the farmer’s heart. In bullets terrorists fire,


in guns pointed at them, there is litost. Kundera says it’s un-

translatable, that America has no name for this. He’s right.

But what if we did? Would a word make such pain more

tolerable? As if language could help.

From A New Hunger by Laure-Anne Bosselaar, published by Ausable Press, copyright 2007 Laure-Anne Bosselaar. Reprinted by permission of the author.


One comment on “Laure-Anne Bosselaar: Litost

  1. Sarah Gordon
    December 30, 2020

    Love this.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


This entry was posted on December 15, 2015 by in Poetry and tagged , .

Enter your email address to follow Vox Populi and receive new posts by email.

Join 12,179 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 4,337,667 hits


%d bloggers like this: