Maurycy Szymel


I got used to warm sheets,

to a woman, black coffee, and to vodka.

I fell in love with my snow, covered hut,

and hunger, satiety, and soft songs.

I wouldn’t be able to live without a cigarette

and I would die without a view of this clouded sky,

without a handkerchief

or flowers pleasing to my eye.

A cemetery at midnight horrifies me,

and the unfeeling table I write this poem on,

and your passionate, autumn eyes

through which death peers.

But when I lay my forehead against the wall,

it smells of your neck, lips, your hair,

and hay,

and water green with frogs and stars.

So I caress the table, windows, lampshade,

like your warm breasts in the dark ripened by night.

And when we nestle face to face,

I understand that there is no death.

— translated from the Polish by Aniela and Jerzy Gregorek