Krystyna Dąbrowska - OCEANARIUM

Fish glide past behind the glass like bags on a carousel.
Barracuda and stingray alongside peaceful gobies
like the shepherds of the flock. It’s hard to believe it:
there’s no one scaring others, no chasing, no consuming.

The secret of this concord is hidden isolation.
The massive tank is split by see-through separators.
The languorous predators cruise around different sectors
from their sisters fragile as tea-trays made of china.

In us too sparks of light live side by side with menace.
Brazenly happiness flashes past gaping shark jaws,
yet they do not devour it – as if it were in a dream.

But without being noticed, from the dark-green depths
an elongated shadow rises up and grows,
a solitary sawfish cuts through the thickest glazing.

Where should I look from in order to see you?
From near or from afar? And from what point in time?
When I move away, trying to encompass you
from head to foot, like a painting on an easel,
I feel that it’s you who’s encompassing me,
you’re changing, adding color, subtracting.
Now I’m looking in your eyes, now I’m looking with your eyes,
while you’re dreaming, or when you appear in my dream,
and now I’m looking for a detail – an object, a gesture, a word,
may it open wide like a bud and burst into being you.
So many points of view, yet I’m stuck at a dead point,
entangled by the thread I planned to use to join them.
And I don’t know if you’re in the thread,
or in the flash of the scissors cutting it in two.

Тranslated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones