*** Road. Exit
*** Road. Landing

BY Julia Fiedorczuk

*** Road. Exit

We infected have to keep on renewing the summons.
Otherwise we’ll vanish.
We’ll be absorbed by the dark night of hedgehogs and ants.
We’ll sprout mould.
The ground will soak us up.

We infected have to keep on renewing the summons.
To let the murderous sea enter us.
Since it’s hard to believe in emptiness that cannot be seen.
Hard not to seek. To grope at least.
Whoever you are, pass me your voice.

Whoever you are, pass me your body of tongue
and day. Extend your hands, please.
I’ll touch you gently as time.

Whoever you are, pass me your body of night.
I’ll lick salt off your cold eyelids.

And you will see the world.

We infected have to keep on starting from scratch.
So let me love your dark.
May what grows in you blossom in me.
May the fruit of this bloom satiate you.

Whoever you are, I’m taking you along.
Let’s go.
Otherwise we’ll vanish.
Look, here’s the road.

And here’s no map.

translated by Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese


*** Road. Landing

I set on this journey to air my dreams.
And our roads happened to cross in heavens,
where slim people were putting on their masks
quietly as buddhas. Your voice
led me across the plains worn smooth,
flooded with light the colour of blood.

I set on this journey to even more.
To touch the sea flowing through us.
This is the reason why I conquer one city after next.
I fall from heavens like a discreet angel.
When I depart, no traces are left.
Not a fistful of sand. Not a drop of water.

Because I will combine my drops with your ocean:
if you wish, I’ll die with you. Or so they say.
Defenceless body can’t resist the stalks of time.
This story should somehow come to a close though,
because right now it’s still very much us.
So I set on this journey to find something

or lose. A poem
in a glass of red wine.
A river full of ashes and tears.

(Because night should always be in effect in the city.)

So I set on this journey to return
or not.

You had prepared the meadow.
There I burnt down.

translated by Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese


photo Marlena BiardzkaJulia Fiedorczuk, born 1975, poet, translator. She debuted in 2000 with Listopad nad Narwią (November by Narwia) poetry book, for which she was granted a prize by the Polish Association of Book Publishers. She has published poetry books Bio (2004), Planeta rzeczy zagubionych [The Lost-and-Found Planet] (2006) and Tlen [Oxygen] (2009). Winner of the Austrian Hubert Burda Prize in 2005. She works in English Department at the University of Warsaw. Member of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. She lives in Warsaw.

Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese translates contemporary Polish poetry into English. Her translations appear regularly in poetry magazines as well as anthologies. She has published Salt Monody, a selection from Marzanna Kielar; a book of poetry by Krystyna Miłobędzka is forthcoming from Arc Publications. She also translates children’s books: she is currently working on D.E.S.I.G.N.; the English D.O.M.E.K. appeared in autumn 2010. Co-editor of Przekładaniec, a peer-refereed journal on literary translation, she is also a contributing editor to Poetry Wales. She lives in Copenhagen.