Translated from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones


In a cluster of youthful heads,
resembling a clump of honey
mushrooms, I find my own,
I’m looking defiantly into the lens,
like into a hyper-spatial tunnel.

A black-and-white photo
of my first holy communion—
I found it at the bottom of a drawer,
while sorting things out for my divorce.

The boy in front of me has gone,
he smashed against the rocks
while rafting on a river of
vodka. The one with his mouth open,
a missionary in the Argentine,
was killed in an accident, trying
to swerve past a wild swine
in the road or in himself.

My life too has ended
many times over. Now I’m
doing all I can to return
to my pew. To forget.
But as I look into the eyes
of that same boy, I can see
he wants to jump out of himself.

To anywhere, if only into me.

What does string theory entail

It entails a poet pulling on one of them,
extracting a seductive sound,

and when he lets it go, it strikes against others,
and worlds interpenetrate, miracles occur,

of which the philosophers never dreamed, “that’s
impossible”—people say,

on seeing their parents dying, and their children
starting to walk. Then everything returns

to its place; the scientists think up
far-fetched creations, poets write with toil.