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The Stain

by Ewa Lipska
Translated from Polish by
Margret Grebowicz
Issue 15 Online Exclusive

During the security check
at the Zurich airport
I stand in the magnetic gate.

Useless metal detectors.

The fine-grained volumes of my poems.
Sheets of expressive steel. Chrome irony.
The buzzing pages of aphorisms
move along slow as patience.

Terroristic thoughts
don’t provoke so much
as a suspicious moment.

We gaze into each other’s eyes
like metal at metal.
What can a machine know
about the poem puzzle
that has been solving me
for sixty years now.

On the screen of the scanner
it’s merely
a stain
on the right hand side.

Ewa Lipska was born in 1945 in Kraków. She is a Polish poet from the generation of the Polish “New Wave.” Collections of her verse have been translated into English, Czech, Danish, Dutch, German, and Hungarian. She divides her time between Vienna and Kraków.
Margret Grebowicz is a native speaker of Polish from Lódz. Her translations have appeared in Quarterly West, Literary Imagination, AGNI, Poetry International, FIELD, and elsewhere. She is associate professor of philosophy at Goucher College.