Vera Pavlova

Photo: Aleksandr Dolgin

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Why is the word yes so brief?
It should be
the longest,
the hardest,
so that you could not decide in an instant to say it,
so that upon reflection you could stop
in the middle of saying it.

Vera Pavlova, poet

Excerpt from If There Is Something to Desire. Translation copyright © 2010 Steven Seymour. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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LONG FORM
ONE WORD