- O Drawer!, and: Incantation
Shelter for the sinful word,o drawer, odyssey so vast,made of oak, homeric!You will be the coffinthat once served as a cradle,sinister imagination’s respite,a hollow for wordswritten in whisper,condemned for eternity under the table.The table—that horned quadrupedwill carry you through the yearsand one dayfrom a green hopeyou keep hidden in the dark,a golden autumn will fly out —yellowed words, not mine.O drawer made of oak, homeric,knots sealed long ago,fractured whorls! [End Page 57]
o water that takes your ownshapewhen you are very smallo single-celledyour name is a dropyou persist from high to lownot knowing a vesselo closed-within-yourselfyou perish when you openand you’ll give birth to the seaand be greetedby salt and dolphin and columbusand by susanna wallowingher hair in rainwatero droplet with nothingto differ you from droplethollower of stone [End Page 58]
Jerzy Ficowski (1924–2006) was a poet, songwriter, and scholar on the Polish Roma population, as well as the writer-artist Bruno Schulz. Recent translations of Ficowski’s poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, Nation, New York Review of Books, and Ploughshares.
Jennifer Grotz’s most recent book of poems is Window Left Open (Graywolf Press, 2016). She is the director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.
Piotr Sommer is the author of Continued (Wesleyan University Press, 2005) and Overdoing It (Hobart and William Smith Colleges Press, 2013). His collected poems, Po Ciemku Też, (Also in the Dark) appeared in Poland in 2013.