Such stories happen on the road —
the hitchhiker says: ‘wherever’
and you know where. There’s an easier way, there are
such places: pools of spilt light cool as billycans,
the snail-slow pulse of passing towns. Night
tastes of arsenic, mint. My friend-from-nowhere, when I was small
I washed my hair with lemon soap, witnessed spirits
on flyovers, out-of-this-world. And here, on radio,
biographies get written: ‘weather forecast for night travellers’. We get it:
tomorrow’s sun will be plush
and strewn. Corn’s ears burn, a quiet
crackle, with the ladybirds, grasshoppers,
dill’s white scraps. The seasons’s ending. After us,
brother, after us, the flood.
~ Agnieszka Wolny-Hamkało, trans. from Polish by Clare Pollard
Agnieszka Wolny-Hamkało is an award-winning poet with eight volumes to her name; she also writes novels, journalism and books for children. She is also known for her performance readings and her promotion of women’s writing in Poland.
Clare Pollard was born in Bolton and currently lives in London. Her first collection of poetry, ‘The Heavy-Petting Zoo’ (Bloodaxe, 1998) was written whilst she was still at school, and received an Eric Gregory Award. Her most recent full collection, ‘Changeling’, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. She works as a journalist, editor and teacher, and is a core tutor on the new Poetry School/University of Newcastle Poetry MA.