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from the November 2005 issue


four drab women
Want Hardship Worry Guilt
wait somewhere far away

a person is born
starts a family
builds a home

the four ghouls
hidden in the foundations

they build for the person
a second home
a labyrinth
in a blind alley

the person lives loves
prays and works
fills the home with hope
tears laughter
and care

the four drab women
play hide-and-seek with him
they lurk in chests
wardrobes bookcases

they feed on gloves dust
kerosene mud
they eat books
fade drab and quiet
by icy moonlight
they sit on paper flowers
the children clap
trying to kill a moth
but the moths turn into silence
the silence into music

the four drab women wait

the person invites
other people
to christenings funerals
weddings and wakes
silver and gold anniversaries
the four drab women
enter the home uninvited
through the keyhole

first to appear is Guilt
behind her looms Worry
slowly there grows Want
baring her teeth comes Hardship

the home becomes a cobweb

in it are heard voices groans
gnashing of teeth

the awakened gods
drive off
importunate humans
and yawn

From: Szara Strefa [Gray Zone], Wydawnictwo Dolnoílskie, 2002

For the next poem in this sequence, click here.

Read more from the November 2005 issue
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