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Lighter, Darker

by Piotr Sommer

translated from the Polish by the author and M. Kasper

I ask questions
yet eventually I should be giving answers.
I don’t know who I’m directing them to
or if I’m directing them to anyone at all.
I hear how the child calls out in sleep—
for seven years, each year, these dreams
are more and more intense,
the calling becomes a shout,
the shouts grow more assertive.
I think too slowly, I feel faster.
An obsession for precision, after a few years’ experience,
stops being tiring, boring and obtrusive.
Shreds of plot come by themselves
and arrange themselves in the right order,
precisely—not at all the way it was.
The device for asking questions,
the privilege of immaturity,
sputters, stops, and falls asleep.
I wake up staring at the family screen
where one dream-frame has frozen.

What was unacceptable’s
becoming acceptable.


Piotr Sommer, one of Poland’s most popular contemporary poets, is also a distinguished translator and literary polemicist and is editor-in-chief of Literatura na Swiecie, a journal of international writing in Warsaw. (1995)

M. Kasper is the translator of Piotr Sommer’s work. His most recent book is a collection of illustrated essays titled The Shapes and Spacing of the Letters (Weighted Anchor Press, 1995). (1995)

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