A Photograph of a Crowd


In a photograph of a crowd
my head seventh from the edge,
or maybe four in from the left
or twenty up from the bottom;

my head, I can’t tell which,
no more the one and only, but already one of many,
and resembling the resembling,
neither clearly male nor female;

the marks it flashes at me
are not distinguishing marks;

maybe The Spirit of Time sees it,
but he’s not looking at it closely;

my demographic head
which consumes steel and cables
so easily, so globally,

unashamed it’s nothing special,
undespairing it’s replaceable;

as if it weren’t mine
in its own way on its own;

as if a cemetery were
dug up, full of nameless skulls
of high preservability
despite their mortality;

as if it were already there,
my any head, someone else’s—

where its recollections, if any,
would stretch deep into the future.


translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak

Paru dans la Boston Review of Books, été 1998