September 8, 2008

Liliana Ursu
—Translated by the poet, Adam J. Sorkin & Tess Gallagher

CIRCLES AND CIRCLES

The circle of roses in the park
hidden deep in the shadow of apartment towers
is nothing like the moon-cool circle of milk
carried in the pitcher by the nun’s hands,
splashing its slow light on the grassy path—or
the sweet circle of honey that swerves before dawn
inside the bear stalked by hunters
while dew and mist beat the forest’s staccato call to prayer
on the toaca.

The circle of wild strawberries I offered,
incapable of healing
the dark circles under my mother’s eyes
during her last summer.

Or the mirror of the iron band
girdling the old oak tree,
attracting clouds, hours, seconds—
that steady, gentle flow of the day’s tide.

A streak of lightning
and all the circles break open.
Thunder, and they contract,
then merge into one, burning
on the surrendered hand
like a ring of fire around fire.

from Rattle #28, Winter 2007

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