The police telephoned again today. “We’re sorry, Karl, but he got away this time too. You better lock your doors and stay inside until further notice.” This is the fifth time the officer has called, and it’s always the same message for a man named Karl. Each time I want to tell him he’s got the wrong number, that I’m not Karl, I don’t know any Karl, but I end up holding my tongue. It feels so safe to be updated this way, to know the police care and look after you. There’s something elusive about the man. Actually, no one has heard from him since all this began. It’s as if he has completely vanished from the face of the earth.
[Translated from the Norwegian by Robert Hedin.]
“Karl” first appeared in WILLOW SPRINGS magazine, and Straumsvag’s first collection, A BUMPY RIDE TO THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE, Translated by Robert Hedin and Louis Jenkins (Red Dragonfly Press, 2011). Used by permission of the poet. Poem copyright Dag Straumsvåg. All rights reserved.
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