Or in the naming, lose
our power. I called you
house and light and pushed you forth—
with each new month
you show me I was wrong:
here, you’ve made a house with bones
of cloud. Look now, your darkness is
so bright. Of course,
I call this love. It burns to ash,
When the border fell and armies
came, they cut not only arms but tongues.
They opened every house
and muted ears, and when the family
landed on these once again rebranded shores
they found the rocks weren’t rocks,
the bread not bread,
the letters broken, hammer-scattered,
the sky a thing that hung
too low upon their heads.
Perhaps that’s how I know it,
in this language their own
children would refuse—
dziecko, kochanek, matka, dzień—
these things I try to name each day
were never mine to lose.
Poet’s note: “Whatever we name, we exceed” is a line from the poem “Interview” by Eleanor Rand Wilner.