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from the September 2011 issue

Utensils Shrink

children grow, no doubt happily
verbs swell before your eyes or
burst their seams, everything does something
to be happy inevitably.
In Studio “Bernardi,” Łódź, 17 Piotr-
kowska Street, my two-year-old mother
sits on her mother’s lap
with her arms around her neck. “Negatives
Preserved.” Forgive me,
but for how long? I look for the atelier
myself, where everything is
recorded, day by day, and the negatives
continue to be preserved, recorded,
even now. Where going into the film
is like going home, after classes, after
lunch in school. What did you have today?
Kasha with that tasty meat
sauce. Everything can be
touched and tasted. No need to put
the note on the door: “Please knock
loudly! The bell is weak!”
because old people have good hearing
and appetite, but they don’t have to vomit.
A wardrobe full of mysteries, with drawers,
and on the inside of the door
an enormous mirror (beveled,
Viennese), in which everything I’ve mentioned
and that I’ll come to mention
looks at itself
(the hinge has yet to wear out, the past
hasn’t broken down). The postman
brings letters and holiday cards,
and in the mailbox, how absurd,
there’s no notice from the library waiting,
requesting return of the, in your opinion,
wonderful book: Every
Patient Can Be Cured,
which now can come in handy
for someone else.

Translation of "Maleją sprzęty." Copyright Piotr Sommer. By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright 2011 by W. Martin and Christian Hawkey. All rights reserved.

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