Memorials – 2014

Mieczysław Jastrun, translated from the Polish by Dzvinia Orlowsky and Jeff Friedman


Chrysanthemums, purple
with anger, almost disappeared in shadow—
dark red with green leaves
in the scarred attic.

when you shut your eyes
what do you feel
with your novice skin?
When you open them,
fire fringes the sky,
red icons flaring.

But what are the names,
the colors of the blind?
We know the names for plant and animal
but we’re all clothed in our own smell,
locked in our own vision.

I can’t see or feel faith
in these extravagances,
only death.


A darkness closer than darkness of night—

If there is no longer a listener
even among stones
when only one ear exists
then the handset receives no phone signal

On the seashore
beaten white foam
the recorded cries of the seagull

Glass tile
hits an iron crowbar
splatters to the stars

House—who has forsaken
disappears in smoke

The cup extinguishes the drinker

I Found Them in a Dream

I found them in dream,
but didn’t know it,
because they had changed.

The dream gave me
a sixth sense, new eyes
to see the massacre,

the operative logic—
how they squeezed
through narrow streets,
arms bloody.

The bullfinch descended
in its black and white feathers
witness to the crimes—

red plots,
a burned clearing