Poland-related poem



Can I translate the waves of Lake Michigan
into the Śniardwy’s squall or Skanda’s ripples?
The deep carpets of grass in Evanston’s parks
into chamomiles, nettles, and weed thickets?

And can I transcribe the crimson cardinal
Into the charcoal “szpak” or olive “dzwoniec,”
or move the gray squirrels (when I dye them red)
from the town’s squares to the Mazurian forests?

So powerfully space and time interlace
—abandon one, you will distort the other.
Dogs don’t speak Polish here nor do the birds;
the black currant does not bloom—it can talk to no one.

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