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A Woman in a Button-back Dress

written by: Janina Osewska

translated by: Karol Chojnowski and Desmond Graham

 

two women on a platform

one of them looks
as the top button of the other’s dress in the colour
of dust from Hierapolis and of the sunset over Ephesus
comes undone – its orange-gold seams
step by step reveal the body
the black sail of underwear
rises and falls on the waves of words –
your button has come undone
would you mind …
and strange hands join up the borders of the dress like two worlds –

since he left me – says the woman –
to button the dresses on angels’ transparent bodies
buttoning hurts
like the sight of an empty pillow at dawn
like the anxiety about an invitation arriving for two
and like the arms of a woman bent back embracing
only herself as she tries to button her dress

you must then – says the first woman – say goodbye
to dresses with a button-back fastening
and those with zippers from the waist
to the nape of the neck flooded with kisses
so they – like him – depart and stay there

until the time to come

Kobieta w Sukience Zapinanej z Tyłu na Guziki

written by: Janina Osewska

 

dwie kobiety na peronie

pierwszej na oczach drugiej
rozpina się ostatni guzik sukienki w kolorze
pyłu z Hierapolis i zachodu słońca nad Efezem
jej pomarańczowo-złote brzegi
krok za krokiem odsłaniają ciało
czarny żagiel bielizny
unosi się i opada na falach słów –
rozpiął się pani guzik
proszę więc, niech pani…
i obce ręce łączą brzegi sukni jak dwa światy –

od kiedy odszedł ode mnie – mówi kobieta –
by zapinać suknie na przeźroczystych ciałach aniołów
zapinanie guzików boli
jak widok pustej o świcie poduszki
jak lęk przed zaproszeniem dla dwóch osób
i wtedy gdy ciało w objęciach własnych rąk
przybiera kształt niemocy

trzeba więc – mówi druga – pożegnać sukienki
zapinane z tyłu na guziki
i te z suwakami od lędźwi
po kark zacałowania
by – tak jak on – odeszły i tam pozostały

aż do czasu przyszłego

Janina Osewska

Janina Osewska

Janina Osewska – poet and photographer. Graduated from the Bialystok University of Technology. Completed post-graduate studies at the University of Warsaw in the field of pedagogy and post-graduate studies at the Warsaw University of Technology in the field of computer science. A member of The Polish Writers Association and Academia Europea Sarbieviana.
Published four volumes of poetry: ‘W stronę ciszy’ (Eng. ‘Towards silence’, 2003), ‘Do czasu przyszłego’ (Eng. ‘Until the time to come’, 2007), ‘Tamto’ (Eng. ‘That’, 2015) and ‘Niebieska chwila’ (Eng. ‘Blue moment’, 2017). Her poems were published in numerous journals in the country and abroad. She has participated in international literary festivals in the US, Ireland and Lithuania. Her poems have been translated into English, German, Lithuanian, Czech and Ukrainian. She is a laureate of a Grand Prix (2004) and an award (2005) in the International Poetry Competition in the US. She was also shortlisted at Stokestown International Poetry Prize in Ireland in 2015. In 2017 she was granted a creative scholarship of the Podlaskie voivodeship marshal.
She is also engaged in photography.
She was born and lives in Poland (Augustów).
Janina Osewska

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