TRANSLATION From the street through the window I see my mum standing at the sink in a burning house. I've been burning for a good while myself. Not much is left of her, just her profile really. Thirty years will pass and my daughter will watch me through a street window burning in a burning house. I don't even know if by then she'll know what she's watching. I've made room for death in my life. I've lifted off the quilt, my shirt, opened the rib cage. I wouldn't have room for any of you if I hadn't made room for death. Until I made room for death I didn't have room for any of you, don't delude yourselves. I crack open a walnut and find the ashes of a mouse, husband and children, my prize, my confirmation.
By Justyna Bargielska
Translated by Maria Jastrzębska
From The Great Plan B (Smokestack Books, 2017)
Justyna Bargielska is one of the most distinctive and original young poets writing in Polish today. She has published eight poetry collections, won the Rainer Maria Rilke poetry competition, and twice won the Gdynia Literary Prize.
The translator, Maria Jastrzębska, was born in Warsaw, Poland and came to the UK as a child. She is a poet, editor and translator. Recent publications include The True Story of Cowboy Hat and Ingénue, At the Library of Memories, The Cedars of Walpole Park and a translation (with Ana Jelnikar) of Iztok Osojnik’s Elsewhere.
Photo by Lisa Kalloo