Tell How It Was

Jerzy Ficowski, translated by Jennifer Grotz & Piotr Sommer

And so yes I took part
it was the war then it wasn’t
I left the camp
free and deloused

but there were stars above me
too many
out of habit
I groomed the sky
once they multiply
good god won’t give a nod
we’ll have to throw
the whole sky away

and they were saying about me
look he came out of the forest
but I did not come out
it was the forest that went away
hey boys
here I am armed with axes
standing still in the clearing
in the monotonous rhythm of a march

when was that
I would have to ask Staszek
but he is dead
I don’t want to bother him

and so there might still be
some pine needles for me
a cap untouched by fire
though eaten by moths
and all of our own ones
unstanding in the clearing
it’s the forest that stood above them
twenty-something years old
I don’t want to remember
just as they cannot

and so do not ask what and how
I came out of this in one piece
let’s say almost one piece
that’s it
there’s nothing to talk about