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Monday, June 11, 2007

Airport in Amsterdam (Adam Zagajewski)

--In memory of my mother

December rose, pinched desire
in the dark and empty garden,
rust on the trees and thick smoke
as if someone’s loneliness were burning.

Out walking yesterday I thought again
about the airport in Amsterdam—
the corridors without apartments,
waiting rooms filled with other people’s dreams
stained with misfortune.

Airplanes struck the cement
almost angrily, hawks
without prey, hungry.

Maybe your funeral should have been held
here—hubbub, bustling crowds,
a good place not to be.

One has to look after the dead
beneath the airport’s great tent.
We were nomads again;
you wandered westward in your summer dress,
amazed by war and time,
the moldering ruins, the mirror
reflecting a little, tired life.

In the darkness final things shone;
the horizon, a knife, and every rising sun.
I saw you off at the airport, hectic
valley where tears are for sale.

December rose, sweet orange;
without you there can be
no Christmases.

Mint leaves soothe a migraine…
In restaurants you always
studied the menu longest…
In our ascetic family
you were the mistress of expression,
but you died so quietly…

The old priest will garble your name.
The train will halt in the forest.
At dawn snow will fall
on the airport in Amsterdam.

Where are you?
There where memories lie buried.
There where memory grows.
There where the orange, rose, and snow lie buried.
There where ashes grow.

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