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My Attempted Travels

—to Australia, Portugal,
the moon, Puerto Rico,
to everywhere I happened not to go.
To the blue bellies of glaciers,
to the dead pit of a stone,
to the labyrinth of yellow cheeses,
which are mummies of milk
and the setting sun of curds,
from the tropical interiors of radiators,
into the dead end of the shell's last whorl,
where the source of a hum is pulsing,
to the sublime of the sparrow's plume,
which is the leaf of the bird, the rung of ascent,
which writes the highest notes of chirping,
to the tender hearts on the old gramophone,
which are pierced, torn to shreds
on a black record.

All my life I've headed out to all these places
and always the wind blows off my hat
and carries it in a completely different direction.
So I am always chasing, all my life,
escaping hats.

Jerzy Ficowski

New England Review

Volume 38, Number 2 / 2017

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