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
Check out the Poetry Travels book list on bookshop.org.
Read previous poems from Poetry Travels:
REVELATION IN H&M by Menno Wigman, translated by David Colmer
*** (I WANT TO FOLD THIS DAY) by Inga Pizāne, translated by Jayde Will
THE SIEGE by Marcin Świetlicki, translated by Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese
FISH by Jana Putrle Srdić, translated by Barbara Jurša
THE WELL by Maarja Pärtna, translated by Jayde Will
THE SHADOW by Pentti Saarikoski, translated by Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah
A FAREWELL TO MY DEAD CLASS by Irit Amiel, translated by Anna Blasiak and Marta Dziurosz
THE GIRLS IN BERGEN-BELSEN by Nora Gomringer, translated by Annie Rutherford
DECEMBER, by Jaume Subirana, translated by Christopher Whyte
ROSE RED, by Ulrike Almut Sandig, translated by Karen Leeder
*** (I D[R]IPPED MY PEN…) by Mario Martín Gijón, translated by Terence Dooley
WHAT COMES by Magda Cârneci, translated by Adam J. Sorkin and Mădălina Bănucu
TRANSLATION by Justyna Bargielska, translated by Maria Jastrzębska
*** (MY EYES, DENSE NIGHT…) by Gëzim Hajdari, translated by Ian Seed