A Glass

Five days I polish the stones of the city with the soles
of my shoes, where time likewise has honed trajectory
and carved its name in footfall zigzags of an era,
features of presence, body shape, a face in profile.
Now seen from up above it’s just a coin
with which to buy a ticket from the conductor
or one espresso shot. I close the lids of my eyes
and the world still exists: below the table sparrows
fight for a crust of bread and kids on bikes
race around the square and from the open cathedral
silence emerges, stretches, stretches its spine in the sunlight.
Even the colors are probably still bright
there, where they were. Everything composed
in signs of absence. Here, on the table, I’ll leave
this poem for you like an empty glass so all
you have to do is bring some wine to fill it.


[Translated from the Polish by Mira Rosenthal]