photo of Krysia Jopek by Steve Yau


The Seesaw of Undertow


A. Have I once again miraculously turned the corner of belief, climbed out? And for how long this time before the trap-door snare descends to snap the neck back under the forest? So terrifying and cruel the way it just happens, and no one has even spoken a word.

Now I will be capable of caring for my fellow human, the garden, the seedlings, myself, write again, or doodle philosophically or only in bare color.

But, first, what should I wear to accept the marvel of upright vertical? Can I afford [justify] new shoes? No one will recognize the entirety of the trauma, it can be assumed.

B. Things were very sketchy for a while, you should know. If only I could have thrown the dies upwards to tell you, spell out the odd, unexpected destruction: go no further. The aft self-imposed chaos [an amputation], and the chronic, ever-defiant desire for explanation, the strange beauty of a logic that doesn’t exist.

The gadgets have multiplied while the others were left for dead, sleeping. Strangely some may provide a sense of solace that we are all in this together for a fraction of a second, repentant and brave.

C. I have sewn the holes in the tablecloths that tell the history of the village and its awkward inhabitants: a gossamer thin in the spring just-budded leaves, that astounding inch-worm, chartreuse green from a year ago before so much ice and snow.

I am writing, oddly, to ask you to help me remember [not forget] those pages in the book I tore out and folded, so that you could know and tell me in your own version, your unusual interpretation of the facts.

Maybe sing a background song that is soothing but upbeat—and coax like sudden sunlight over the majestic teal–its constant grandeur yet shifting metronome [through the one hundred and forty four windows], its waves pulsating the distant [key of ] sea.



(c) 2013 by Krysia Jopek


Krysia Jopek’s poems have appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, The Wallace Stevens Journal, Phoebe, Murmur, Windhover, and Artists & Influence. She has written reviews of poetry for The American Book Review and a review of literary criticism for The Wallace Stevens Journal. Maps and Shadows, her first novel (Aquila Polonica 2010), won a Silver Benjamin Franklin award in 2011 in the category of Historical Fiction. The Glass House of Forgetting, her second novel (literary fiction), is forthcoming.


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