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For translators, who carry meaning across frontiers
to other cultures and countries.*
– Jim Wayne Miller
Forget family, inheritance,
of any mountain, holler,
creek, county, neighbor you know.
But especially, forget beauty.
Because they’re deaf
to your beauty.
Make it their water, their anger
their lungs, their ticking clocks,
their children’s children.
Preach past the choir.
Turn the truth. Plough it,
catch it, thread it, hand-carry it
from one world to another.
Sky-write their horizon with facts.
Occupy them with facts.
Open-mouth-kiss-them with facts,
with battlefield improvisation,
with missionary zeal.
You know both languages.
Do it right. They’ll never know
what hit them.
*Epigraph to the bilingual edition of Copperhead Cane
by Green River Writers/Grex Press
Copyright 2017 Katy Giebenhain. From Sharps Cabaret (Mercer University Press, 2017).
Katy Giebenhain is a poet advocating for access to essential medicines. She is the author of Sharps Cabaret, winner of the Adrienne Bond Award for Poetry.