Kārlis Vērdiņš

:

Passengers

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Translated by Ieva Lešinska
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Passengers push their way through the airport labyrinth
like shit through a gut their bags contain the seeds
of poisonous plants dead animals sprat sandwiches
self-made petards they keep swiping at phones
peer all around wanting to scatter throughout the country
to infect all its fields to sow
fleurs du mal lice in their hair their bodies
pasted with banknotes a veiled
woman fails to explain whose
baby it is and where it’s being taken by eleven identical
Singaporean flight attendants giggling in unison
customs officials undress them all naked with raised
arms and spread legs they are waiting by the wall
waiting for the poison to be hosed off the bodies
for explosives to be pulled from anuses colourful
feathers and fishbones from their hair
Free Immigration posters to be confiscated
fingerprints to be taken soul
to be photographed twisted for a long time
fingertips examined through an electronic magnifier
weighed on pharmaceutic scales
they look at your face speak into their walkie-talkies
take a sip from their mugs shake their heads show you
the door push you into the hallway they flush
wipe their hands