The Woman From The Archive

by Nijole Miliauskaite

Nijole Miliauskaite

a woman of indeterminate age
in the fading light
hands folded on her lap
those same days
those same faces
a current carried
on and on
hair full of archival dust
dishevelled, calligraphic
writing, deeply hidden
on the window
a bouquet of dried
meadow flowers, barely fragrant
in the fading light
you turn and set
next to one another
flowers, dreams, gazes
a fragment of song, a smile
of your treasures
at twilight, woman
no one loves
in the nets of psychoanalysis
you might find a few small stones, a black feather, silt
or some tiny box
filled with forget-me-nots
perhaps you will unexpectedly pull out
a black lace dress
given by your grandmother - it fits just right
but there's no place to wear it
such a small dark storeroom
in the half-cellar, heaped to the ceiling
a dusty black piano
you are probably four years old
and your father
and your mother
are so young still
on the facing halves
an icy wind suddenly tears open
the door
you cry and cry
and cannot sleep
you are four years old
night, night, our benevolent
night, let down the curtain
gentle black heavy
will fall on your hair, spider webs
will wrap your body, crepe de Chine
outside the window will blossom
a Chinese rose
in the dream I sewed a black dress
a black dress falling
with deep heavy folds
through the black
transparent lace
stares the windswept night
and loudly
rustling trees
with no regrets
I cut off my long hair
threw it into the fire, let it burn
let it
I dreamed that I dream
that I sew a black dress
a black dress falling
with deep heavy folds
let it burn
so the toad that lives by the well
will not carry it
to its nest
what are you afraid of
it asks me, what are you afraid of
mice, owls, snakes, spiders
are beloved creatures
I sew a black dress
a black dress falling
with deep heavy folds
I sew a black dress
vapors rise above the thick brew, swamps
stirred by a dried hand
only skin and bones

Last updated January 14, 2019