POETRY: Into Solitude, by Anna Kamieńska

We descend into solitude step by step
further and further down stanzas of verses
into depths never expected
determined to live without poor substitutes
in a cruel and impossible purity
there at the very bottom to regain
all those who huddle
at the gate of this wide-open emptiness
grandmothers aunts and uncles already forgotten
strangers who once crossed a courtyard
someone out of work who knocked on the window
someone passed by on a footbridge
the dead the living it doesn’t matter
the beautiful boy who stood below the pulpit
looking like an angel almost an angel
and the one who hit me on the forehead with a stone
where a mark still remains
and the washerwoman who reappeared at our home like Kronos
and went away bent under the weight of the laundry basket
the wagon-driver with whom I danced at the harvest festival
and Someone else was there a carpenter or a woodworker
who placed a hand on my forehead
and said Don’t be afraid
with me no one is lonely


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