translated from the Polish by Sarah Luczaj
I Handed Over To You
I handed over to you the spark of my own conscience,
the gift of a name and a cosmetics bag.
I handed over the tree from the Van Gogh painting.
You screamed that it wasn’t mine. It is. Oh, how could it not be!
We divide the paintbrush in half, the soul too, and the ear.
I gave over to you the power of my hands,
the stream in the quietening of my mind.
One thing I did not hand over.
The sculpture from the emptied
square of power
with its eyes wrapped in sheets.
She fell asleep while I was thinking.
I love that pain. I’m his mother.
I’ve carried him from birth. Nine months
is a drop in the ocean. My first cry
with blood still fresh... his first
dusk. I treat his skin with a burgundy sky.
I bathe him in my face. I dress him
in comfort – tomorrow you’ll be older, more
mature, more distinct...oh God, how,
how not to leave him now. He exists, after all,
out of sheer innocence. Who else will I hold
when my last autumn rustles the tree...
Olga Lalić–Krowicka is a poet and translator from Croatia, half Serbian and half Polish. She moved to Poland during the war and now lives there and writes in Polish. She has been widely published in Poland, Croatia and Serbia. She uses schizophrenic experiences in her work.
Sarah Luczaj is a poet and translator from Britain, living and working in Poland since 1997. Her poems and translations are widely published in US journals e.g. the APR. She works as a psychotherapist.
Dorothy Mienko Barry Seiler Lisa Gordon Stephen Mead Michael P. Workman T. Lewis Olga Lalić-Krowicka Joel Fry Dave Ruslander Anna Kaye Forsyth Keith Nunes