Reading Czeslaw Milosz

The acid air of burn-off in Bluffton
drifts over the lagoon, incinerated husks
and grass turning rich blackness into
the history of earth. Your Warsaw’s ruins
embering in the breath of exhausted oak
leaves, the clog of streets, gutters flaring
as vibrancy rises here, the narrow
sapling a splintered doorjamb, a child’s face
the bud unfolding scrape of azaleas.
Gray fume is spreading the history
of bones, books in rubble, their charred titles
crumbling like dirt from the shoes of workers.
A sour after-taste blows out to sea,
the salt world turning on itself, griefless
ground at zero another drowned abyss.
Resort workers are planting zinnias, roots
smothered in red mulch, orange heads, burst suns,
buried lives again giving up their heat.

John Allman | Mudlark No. 31
Contents | Leaving Home 2002