Winter 2012

Table of Contents - Vol. VIII, No. 4

 

Poetry    Fiction    Non-fiction    Translations    Reviews   

Maja Trochimczyk

A Visit to Gdansk Oliwa, August 1969
 
My mother’s aunt, Ciocia Jadzia works in a kiosk in Oliwa
Selling papers and razor blades in a ruined city
Of charcoal buildings and five-year plans
She hides the best blades for her faithful clients
In the kiosk on the way to the Cathedral
 
Where angels with puffy wooden cheeks
Triumphantly blow their golden trumpets
Walls and benches shake with the majesty of Bach
The gold-starred ceiling shimmers
In summer evening cold
 
The music of my seaside vacation heals the grey hours
Of sitting in the kiosk, selling matches and tickets
After Ciocia Jadzia goes home to cook dinner
For her silent husband, drunk artist son
 
She works – Uncle Dominic, a proud nobleman
In a top hat and a black Sunday coat
Walks through Oliwa’s parks
With his last, prize-winning Holstein cow
Grieving the loss of his estates – the life he had had
Before that fateful train ride from the East
 
He still sees the red-roofed manor with a white porch
Bronze oak leaves scattered on the gravel path
Silver gray of Lake Switez
Golden rye fields before the harvest
 
He walks home to rusty bricks pocked by bullet holes,
Smoke-dark hallways, and a burst of color
In the courtyard where asters tremble
Like a bouquet of fallen stars


Most Wanted
 
He has the sadness of the damned in his eyes
The left eye, emptied of heartsease
The right, clouded with despair
 
 Thick lines on his cheeks point downward
A snarling rictus of lips, once moistened with kisses
“There is no hope,” he thinks, “none ever”
 
What would you expect? He said “No” every time
Except when denial was healthy – the virus
Multiplied in his veins, pocked his grief-stricken face
 
Rejections do this to you, so does contempt
He said, “Not in a thousand years, don’t even dream”
And he stopped dreaming – to die slowly
 
In a refusal to breathe in the light, drink wisdom
From a goblet of fire, studded with diamonds
Of kindness, luminous outpouring of grace

© Maja Trochimczyk

Poetry    Fiction    Non-fiction    Translations    Reviews   

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