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 January 14, 2019