Spinario by Jerzy Jarniewicz – translated by Piotr Florczyk

on the ledge in front of the school a red-haired boy sits,
leaning carefully over his foot, which he lifted
and rested on his right knee. Is he pulling a thorn
out of his foot? No. Rather a pebble
                                                                      out of the shoe.
If I were looking at him with eyes
forty years younger, the boy
would be wearing a uniform, a badge on his shoulder.
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.