This is Klara. In seventh grade she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Today she looks like an old woman. She smiles at me. Says I look like one girl from her primary school that boys locked themselves in a room with and she had to flee through the window. Klara can’t know. When I was fleeing, she was hospitalised. I think that maybe Klara is God. This is Marek. Marek is blind. As a boy he caressed flower petals with the tips of his fingers and called them by their Latin names. Today he is a gardener. He smiles at me. He smiles at Klara. Says she smells like Matthiola longipetala. I can smell the pleasant aroma of Evening Stock. It spreads with Klara’s every move, just after Marek touched her hand to say Good Morning. I think that maybe Marek is God.
By Joanna Fligiel
Translated by Anna Blasiak
by Joanna Fligiel
Published in Poland by KIT Stowarzyszenie Żywych Poetów (2018)
Joanna Fligiel is the founder and editor of Babiniec Literacki and the former editor of Śląska Strefa Gender (2010-2020). The great-granddaughter of a Ravensbrück and Auschwitz prisoner, born in Katowice, raised in a tuberculosis sanatorium in Bystra near Bielsko, she lives in Bielsko-Biała in Poland and in Neuss and Bengel in Germany, constantly traveling between her three homes. She has worked as a bookseller for most of her life. As a child she was a victim of domestic abuse and initially this theme dominated her writing. She has published three volumes of poetry, but wrote more. She is a grandmother, mom, wife and feminist.
Anna Blasiak is a poet and translator. She has translated over 40 books from English into Polish and some fiction and poetry from Polish into English. In addition to her book-length translations, her work has appeared in Best European Fiction 2015, Asymptote, The Guardian, B O D Y Literature, Modern Poetry in Translation and York Literary Review. Anna writes poetry in Polish and in English. Her bilingual collection Café by Wren’s St James-in-the-Fields, Lunchtime is out now. She has worked in museums and a radio station, run magazines, written on art, film and theatre. annablasiak.com.
Photo by Lisa Kalloo
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