lake geneva
antique frustum
be brave, moon

Author: Dagmara Kraus
Translator: Joshua Daniel Edwin

lake geneva

fairday rigging; thawed, griefclotted. we

eat bickberries beneath the mast, which parts

in two your view of the waterfront.

bared footslaps on the quay. gullsplash
in prow-high bilge; death gusts quick across
the bay, a playboy with viewphobia—

the last buccaneer to haunt the hull.
skull peeled, flag bared, you hail our tartan
(your dark side facing us) AHOI.

the slip licks our pilings; scoop and stone
in murky blue. in the end and among the lilies
they will bier you out atop the mesa.

antique frustum

zoo-odor, agora. on the road to eleusis, i
zoomed in on a stray turtleshell, a marauder,
one of kore’s gang of maenad-servants—only rustic,
ages more ancient than the chalk-cliff coast
overhanging the temples, plaka’s stalls, bazaars,
tendered lavender in the deepest zoom
of any aperture—i thought: ruins, at any rate, mere
décor before meaningless blue-ground, and deleted
out of hand, all that was there, disordered
as tile-mosaic, from the chip in my japanesenikon:
kouroi torsos, stelea, temple; all brokenwinged
sphinxes, hermai, un-embellished fibulae,
the pale geometry of noses, calyx of nike,
all the shards, nine kinds of vases, attic
marriage-kareste; Priam’s treasure, heaped, and
so to speak, digitally bunkered—i swapped it all
for a grained skeletonbell, a humble
mime-drama ornament of tortoise-shell. i made
turtle-pictures, whole albums of them, sheer
huge volumes; as it shuffled unvarnished
through kerameikos’ potshards, this turtle,
fixed and dry; a saffronsootgray shieldback-
green, a strange bone in quasi-cupola
plate-arrangement; an old-athens athlete,
chitinous luck charm. a sign of growth for
my menagerie, kudus, ligers, bonobos, kusus,
horseshoe bats: all my hindered dears. and still
the shell crept further, it threatened stone-mimicry
so quickly I snapped again the scaly turtlehead
as it slipped smoothly cautiously away
in its sandpapered sort of sly stone-identity:
an antique memorial, anything but tame,
not even halftame, this revenant of phryne.

be brave, moon
(for a child)

                           i don’t understand how people
can write poems about the moon…
zbigniew herbert

pink pipsqueak: moonspy, dwarf
at midnight—fizzdapple, a sun-
disputing tricky dick, faintly lit and

distant. a clicker, ice-stone, you stray glossy
over the huge arc; loose eyelet, orphaned
on the starched collar of stark night

—drift-sand? blaze? didn’t david work you,
with his sling, high into the heavens’
braid, and steal orion’s fame?

i portioned out the nightbloom, made
myself a shift of it; with the brooch,
your halo, gathering the fabric—

how the gamma-owls will envy… and
the phillistine whose brow you chalk,
tiny pill-star, now has twice no clout

Originals © Dagmara Kraus
Translations © Josh Edwin