How to Tell One Country From Another

Whether is it possible to become lost.
Whether one tree looks like another.
Whether there is water all around
the edges or not. Whether
there are edges or whether
there are just insects.
Whether the insects bite,
whether you would die
from the bites of insects.
Whether you would die.
Whether you would die for your country.
Whether anyone in the country would die for your country.
Let’s be honest here.
A layer of snow, a layer of granite, a layer of snow.
What you think lies under the snow.
What you think lies.
Whether you think white on white is a state of mind
or blue on blue or green on green.
Whether you think there is a state,
of mind.
How many clothes you have to take off
before you can make love.
This I think is important:
the undoing of buttons, the gradual shedding
of one color after another. It leads
to the belief that what you see is not
what you get.
Whether there are preliminaries,
hallways, vestibules,
basements, furnaces,
chesterfields, silences
between sentences, between pieces
of furniture, parasites in your eyes,
drinkable water.
Whether there has ever been
an invading army.
Whether, if there were an invading army,
you would collaborate.
Poor boy, you’d say, he looks cold
standing out there, and he’s only twenty.
From his point of view this must be hell.
A fur coat is what he needs,
a cup of tea, a cup of coffee,
a warm body.
Whether on the contrary
you’d slit his throat in his sleep
or in yours. I ask you.
So, you are a nice person.
You would behave well.
What you mean by behaving well.
When the outline of a man
whose face you cannot see
appears at your bedroom window,
whether you would shoot.
If you had a gun, that is.
Whether you would have a gun.
It goes on.
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