Joanna Lech
Translation: Marek Kazmierski

We still recall journeys with interruptions, murmurs and stings;
earth cracked with heat, fields rotting, waterlogged. And so there was no
light in the room, there was snow and frosting filled with the remains of flora.
Dark snowdrifts falling against windows, dreams drilling down through floors.

Perhaps we liked such games – nights spent at terminals, the cold names
[of illnesses?
Histories as simple as burn scars. Rain dripping down hair,
[a light bulb burst,
as we spat out the lumps. Perhaps something hatched and rotted, a few
changing into scabs. Something gestating in you, the symptoms there already -

hands in clay, rust stains visible. Words, whispered by a stranger,
as he tries to rub his eyes come sunrise; as ripped as meat and as


Swelter smouldering in the hand, infecting the grasses. Choking the earth,
as we run across the fields; collecting clams, chewing leaves
like sugar. Winds tossing sparks about, smoke stinging the eyes.
Over the woods, a sky, in it: fire. This image – the river taking on water
and swallowing suns. Children moulding nests and sucking thumbs at bedtime.
August pours ash into their hair, etching signs in the heavens.
Dives the waters with a stone in its throat.

This image, Anna, cannot be swallowed. As if it were swelling within me;
a mark in the bend of the arm. A scratch on the eye. A dream which cuts the skin
deeper than knives and stuffs moss into arteries, feathers into mouths.


Meaning remains; signs in the sky, blurred smears. That which will
repeat itself, like chill, damp, stains down all the walls, rubble
beneath each window. Nothing in photographs; the city sounds
like a kind of illness – fever or flood, a hole filled with mud and bones.

All this more like attempted exists rather than the names of symptoms, glancing
beneath, as mould moves up out of basements, door-less houses collapsing.
The river breaking its banks, I remember; the water spitting out bodies, smashing
against shore. Meaning remains – skin sticky with pus and larvae, decay;

the image which sticks in the throat will not let us forget.

Only then

will everything end. Scars fading for good. Warmth disturbing our
rhythm, digging down to the bone. Look, this dream will bring us thaws;
smoke biting the lips and cutting the tongue. You have to invent a new one.
Otherwise, all that will remain are shards, burnt verses. Shrapnel. Look;
the earth embers in these scraps, swelling, enough for the feet to fall into.

Winds blow in sparks, leaves trembling with dew. I must already have carried
disquiet within me; like a child, growing beneath the heart, meanwhile
March was turning into despair. Everything cracking in such lovely fashion:
the streets and the sky, our bodies stuck with saliva. Flashes slicing the air
like paper, blood flowing from stems. Think, this dream will bring

us thaws. Close your eyes and see; moisture penetrating everything.
The word cutting skin. The seed falling from the lips.
Joanna Lech

Znowu pragnę ciemnej miłości, WAB 2018

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