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Charles Simic

Pic. Beowulf Sheehan

Charles Simic

Stub of a Red Pencil

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You were sharpened to a fine point
With a rusty razor blade.
Then the unknown hand swept the shavings
Into its moist palm
And disappeared from view.

You lay on the desk next to
The official-looking document
With a long list of names.
It was up to us to imagine the rest:
The high ceiling with its cracks
And odd-shaped water stains;
The window with its view
Of roofs covered with snow.

An inconceivable, varied world
Surrounding your severe presence
On every side,
Stub of a red pencil.
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Charles Simic

American poet of Serbian origin. He was born in Belgrade, where he lived till he was 16. He learned English after emigrating to the United States. He writes about jazz, art, philosophy. He is the co-editor of Paris Review. In The New York Review of Books he published articles about Polish poetry. For his collection The World Does Not End: Prose Poems Simic received the 1986 Pulitzer Prize. In 2014, he was awarded the Zbigniew Herbert International Prize for Literature.
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