Sunday 5 May 2024

3 Poems by Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka

Lake Patzcuaro: Before All Saints' Eve on Janitzio Island

The lake where fishermen catch light
in butterfly nets. Shadows sit on the sunny
side. Mountains last for only a splash
of the boat turned around by the whistle
of the guitar player on the pier.

Glimmers skip on green floats,
upright egrets double upside-down,
ridges mingle with clouds
lured to sink with the sun
into the abyss of legends.

After the last boat departs, the water
takes on a tarnished, wrinkled
countenance, sighs to the lingering
cloud and closes up.

On All Saints' Eve the souls emerge,
share pan de los muertos on festive graves,
and then, flickering candle flames—
to air and water they return.
                                --first published in Little Patuxent Review

On Earth

From the imperceptible tap water flows in.

I am sixteen. I gaze at the Big Dipper,
dream of being an astronaut,
garner stars.

I am forty. I visit Orion, bright nebula
in his sword. All monsters conquered,
no injustice allowed. I hold matter and spark.

The pool fills up.

I am ninety. The people who were to die
did. The Red Planet is at its closest
to Earth. I reach.

I am three again. The Sun plays tricks
with colors to defer the night.
I ask to stay awake.

The water stills, merges with forever.
                                --first published in The Comstock Review

The Ocean Is Watching

Today I cannot win with myself,
an “o” against an “x”
call it “tick-tack-toe” or
“kółko i krzyżyk,”
“a circle and a cross”

drawn with a shell
on nine squares, between four lines
on hardened sand
tinted by the six o’clock sun.

The other player, the other I,
does not make a mistake in this game,
nor do I.
                            --first published in Spillway


Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka is the author of two books: Face Half-Illuminated (Apprentice House) and Oblige the Light (CityLit Press), winner of the Clarinda Harriss Poetry Prize. She is also the translator for four books by Lidia Kosk. Her works have appeared in Pirene’s Fountain, Spillway, Tar River Poetry, and elsewhere. Poetry Translations Editor at Loch Raven Review, she grew up in Poland and now lives in Maryland, USA. More at:

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