Temporary City

by Nijole Miliauskaite

Nijole Miliauskaite

in the evening
along the banks
of the creek, as the sky is lighted by the glow
from the hothouses, farther on the dump, the street,
the pond, the hospital, farther still garages
and the dried tops of pine trees

here in the spring
a nurse was raped as she walked
to work one morning
and here, on this bridge,
you were beaten, kicked
by three men, healthy, uncomplicated, laughing
(it was on some holiday)

then we looked in all
the ditches for your glasses, shining our lights
into the shallow water, but could find
nothing: no frames, no lenses, not a single
face or significant mark

only muck, only pieces of things, discarded toys
a glove
and your large black beret
which we I pulled from the water


in the dream
some woman
young, very pale (in one ear
dangled a silver earring, the other
was torn out by the branch
of an appletree gone wild, there were once orchards here
now tall buildings line the way, through their windows
you see
only other windows, as if some other world), that woman
ran down the street screaming, and all
I could understand was: will I never
be able to see Paris!


the dump, beyond the hothouses, where the spring sun
warms us so pleasantly
a brook burbles

from under a pile
of broken bricks, rags, newspapers, ashes
a hand

dry stalks of grass rustle in the wind


old woman winter, like some beggar
stopped on the main street, is taken away
outside of town, in shock and half dead,
to die in the fields

the half-frozen
boy (with no scarf or gloves) was stopped
by two tall men near the school

(the hired
killer's knife pierces
the back)

go in (it belongs to no one)
into the empty unhappy heart
of this spring

into the blind alleys
of this city


to give a title
to this poem

to their life
which is
and nothing more


the night is ever darker
beware, those are not real stars
watch out, don't walk on the streets after dark
don't talk to strangers
fear telegrams, take no joy
in this day or in tomorrow, accept
no gifts, throw out medicine bottles, scissors needles
hairpins, burn
letters and never
keep a diary

they don't give you an inch
eyes in every mirror, in every
face, in every brick of the walk

the walls have ears!


I would not want to tie my name to it
nor my date of birth nor the place of my death


Franz K., my friend
in the darkest time, when trees,
having lost their leaves, tremble through their trunks
in the wind on the dismal plain

and there is still no snow

where our corpses will be dropped
with hands and feet bound
mouths stuffed
still warm

what a comfort
it will be to believe
that we will meet

the same blood flows in our veins
and seeps
into the saturated ground

you'll croak like a bitch - someone said
and spat

and there is still no snow, Franz K.


the blackened ancient coin
lands on tails

Last updated August 08, 2015