The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Zuzanna Walter

taking the tram


i didn’t make the 14, had to wait for the 28
that went the long way round
it was late, we’d just lost another game
there were only men around me
their faces oozing red white and green
the paint caked their drunken lips
they sang
jebać wisłę, legia mistrzem
i don’t want to translate

i remember driving home one afternoon
on a dirt road past cabbage fields, local
vegetable shops and the elderly women
huddled by a cross on the street
i wanted to run them over

the next stop was savior’s square,
as the tram trudged its way through
a rainbow burned up the sky
a peaceful installation someone
set fire to for the third time
and the men around me laughed
changed their chant to
jebać gejów kurwa
i don’t want to translate that either

one time my friends were in a place
at a time, and neither was wrong
but they were beaten with meat cleavers
and brass knuckles because it was
just another night in warsaw

i don’t go home much anymore



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