20 5 / 2012
Karmelicka Street, a sky-blue tram, the sun,
September, the first day after vacation,
some have come home from long trips,
armored divisions enter Poland,
children off to school dressed in their best,
white and navy blue, like sails and sea,
like memory and grapes and inspiration.
The trees stand at attention, honoring
the power of young minds that haven’t yet
known fire and sleep and can do what they want,
nothing can stop them
(not counting invisible limits).
The trees greet the young respectfully,
but you—be truthful—envy
that starting out, that setting off
from home, from childhood, from the sweet darkness
that tastes of almonds, raisins, and poppyseeds,
you stop in the store for bread
and then walk home, unhurried,
whistling and humming carelessly;
your school still hasn’t started,
the teachers have gone, the masters remain,
distant as summer, your sleep sails through the clouds
across the sky.
01 2 / 2012
Die—you can’t do that to a cat.
Since what can a cat do
in an empty apartment?
Climb the walls?
Rub up against the furniture?
Nothing seems different here
but nothing is the same.
Nothing’s been moved
but there’s more space.
And at nighttime no lamps are lit.
Footsteps on the staircase,
but they’re new ones.
The hand that puts fish on the saucer
has changed, too.
Something doesn’t start
at its usual time.
Something doesn’t happen
as it should.
Someone was always, always here,
then suddenly disappeared
and stubbornly stays disappeared.
Every closet’s been examined.
Every shelf has been explored.
Excavations under the carpet turned up nothing.
A commandment was even broken:
papers scattered everywhere.
What remains to be done.
Just sleep and wait.
Just wait till he turns up,
just let him show his face.
Will he ever get a lesson
on what not to do to a cat.
Sidle toward him
as if unwilling
and ever so slow
on visibly offended paws,
and no leaps or squeals at least to start.