The boy from the previous poem is still
sitting here. And saying not a word he pulls out of his foot—what’s
that? Thumbtack? Glass, maybe? Seeds
spat out by a flat-rate crossing guard? Either way
it was a different poem. And you’re no spring chicken or
a boy, though you like going barefoot. The foot
carries your weight, collects what’s dropped
on crosswalks and sidewalks. I alone won’t manage
to take those crumbs out unless you face me and say something,
speak aloud about what’s passed, and
turn toward the sky for me to read
your bare foot.
Jerzy Jarniewicz is a Polish poet, translator and literary critic, who lectures in English at the University of Łódz. He has published twelve volumes of poetry, thirteen critical books on contemporary Irish, British and American literature, and has written extensively for various journals, including Poetry Review, Irish Review, and Cambridge Review. He is editor of the literary monthly Literatura na Świecie (Warsaw) and has translated the work of many novelists and poets, including James Joyce, John Banville, Seamus Heaney, Raymond Carver, Philip Roth, Edmund White, and Derek Walcott.
Piotr Florczyk’s most recent books are East & West, a volume of poems, and several volumes of translations, including I’m Half of Your Heart: Selected Poems by Julian Kornhauser and Building the Barricade by Anna Świrszczyńska, which won the 2017 Found in Translation Award and the 2017 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award. A doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California, he is completing a volume of poems based on Holocaust testimonies entitled From the Annals of Kraków. His work can be found at www.piotrflorczyk.com.