Ewa Chru¶ciel
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Strata
na no la

They thistle in us. They speck in the morning. They tingle. Sorrelic apparitions. There is a tigress mother wanting to trim your hair. They come to us. Do you hear them? Some as heavy footsteps. Others – miniscule kisses. Thin as grass. Rising and swaying parasols. They come with swinging hips. They come as minnows. They try to get where they belong. They come in wrinkles. They come as a host of molecules. They come as hard-faced dybbuks. They swarm into this lighthouse. They have fancy hats. With forget-me-nots. They pebble across the floor. They fall from marigold trees and lie crucified on the road. Get up and sing. They come and pinch like too much love. They trespass. They come to a wailing wall. They dot. We are burying them every day. We are burying them in staccato rhythm. They rise and accrete. They beat electric letters in the air. They hop always to a higher branch. They come invincible. They come to torture. They come to soothe. They come for romance. They flip and tremble tiny farewells. They come as mustards seeds. Do you see them in a mulberry tree? They slide down the needles. They come as growth on wolf trees, the dead winking. They air the air. They come to forgive. They ask for forgiveness. They come as hyphae. They come as hostages. They come as clogged streets. They come in slow trains. They come as silver jaguars. Burning bushes, doves, manna, the blood of horses necks. They come as purgatory souls. They chip off the wall. In loops and whorls. They want to rent one line. They want to breakdown. They re-colonize. They come to insulate us with snow. They come in giggles. They come in almonds. They come to eye us, inside our panther skins. We bury them. They come in black chadors. They rap on our door with churned up grains, tides, whispers. They come as drafts of juniper. They spread on the floor as a cross. They are relics of grief and light. They perch on your branches like monk hedgehogs. They come as juncos. They come in lekking crowds. They come in high-strung beads and scatter into our vessels. They come in volcanic lavish. They come as noble Odysseuses. They hover as hummingbirds, calculating their rates of return. We bury them. They air the air. They are ubiquitous as Tartar cheeks. They bilocate. They come as yellow secrets.

PA RA DOS

They are built like oven birds, the poets. Not the larks, nightingales,
Tanzanite owls, modenas, orliks, but these small migratory birds
whose repetitive song consists of: a poem a poem a poem. Oven birds
have tough little lives. Half of all adult ovenbirds die. Half of Polish
poets die, of self-inflicted exiles, excessive vodka, envy, or a tiger
who just jumped out of them but the labor was too heavy. Some of them die struck by an orange; an unusually woven epiphany.

Ovenbirds die young and lonely. They leave layers of riddles, odes,
villanelles and a song goes on dismembered. Ovenbirds do not overlap their songs. It is a song that kills ovenbirds. A tedious song of a poem.
Not the trills and jitters. It is a sexless song; wrenched out of want.
Ovenbirds are necessary birds. Ovenbirds clench their wings and ask: Lord-bird, why did you make me an oven bird? Ovenbirds are so modest and small that they surrender to their part of the song. They never see their work as a whole (not even with a jar of fireflies lit in their homes). Their voices transgress the whole forests and take off on extended morphemes. They pause, and then sing one after the other again, for up to 40 songs.

hagio graphia

My mother is transforming into a martyr. First she read the stories of saints, especially Saint Jadwiga, the queen of Poland. Next symptom was her proclamation of death caused by my refusal to cooperate, for example, to eat ham. Another step towards sainthood. She asked her neighbors and relatives to testify in writing to her goodness and sanity. She asked for examples. She handed me all the letters at the airport. I keep them unopened and believe in aspen leaves, flipping and trembling to shake off unnecessary staleness. They air the air.
I was afraid to touch the brush she used, lest it become a relic. I also stopped flushing the toilet. The important thing is that she herself is a relic – some even testified to seeing her spread like a cross. She displayed the signs of bilocation. Small displacements. First she displaced her pain onto my sleeves, then onto the geographies. We would see her preaching to congregations of jays in California and she flickered in a drunken woman sitting on a railway station in Kursk. She was in New York chatting with a Bulgarian guitarist. Not to mention her Tartar cheeks, which were ubiquitous and gave rise to little halos. Once she saw me and told me one of her yellow secrets and we spent the rest of the
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