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Temptation

by Artur Szlosarek

translated from the Polish by Jennifer Grotz and
Anna Skucinska


And if the devil himself paid me a visit and said,
“Love me, and you will be granted salvation,” what would I
Say in return? That love is the best solution?

Three Magi meet and gossip at tea.

The first has arrived on an icy train from the East.
The second confides he has been putting a baby into jars.
The third would gladly celebrate the waitress’s body.

There is no mystery. It’s December 24th. There are trees walking.

And if the devil himself paid them a visit and said,
“Follow me, and you will not go astray,” what might they
Say in return? That everyone is left to their own devices?

Would they reveal themselves as the gifts they had not brought?

 

Artur Szlosarek was born in Krakow, Poland, in 1968. He is the author of six books of poetry, including Under a Foreign Sky (2005), Letter to a Wall (2000), Camera Obscura (1998), and Ashes and Honey (1996). English translations of his work appear in the anthologies Young Poets of a New Poland (Forest Books, London, 1993) and Carnivorous Boy, Carnivorous Bird (Zephyr Press, 2004) as well as in Polish-poetry-centered issues of Chicago Review and Lyric. He lives in Berlin.

Anna Skucinska is an editor of Przekladaniec: A Journal of Literary Translation and an editor and translator of Carnivorous Boy, Carnivorous Bird: A Bilingual Anthology of Contemporary Polish Poetry (Zephyr Press, 2004). She lives in Krakow.

Jennifer Grotz is the author of Cusp (2003), winner of the Bakeless Prize for Poetry. Her poems, reviews, and translations have recently appeared in New England Review, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, Boston Review, and elsewhere. (8/2006)


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