In February the poplars are even slimmer
than in summer, frozen through. My family
spread across the earth, beneath the earth,
in different countries, poems, paintings.
Noon, I’m on Na Groblach Square.
I sometimes came to see my aunt
and uncle here (partly out of duty).
They’d stopped complaining about their fate,
the system, but their faces looked like
an empty secondhand bookshop.
Now someone else lives in that apartment,
strange people, the scent of a strange life.
A new hotel was built nearby,
bright rooms, breakfasts doubtless comme il faut,
juices, coffee, toast, glass, concrete,
amnesia—and suddenly, I don’t know why,
a moment of penetrating joy.
(Translated by Clare Cavanagh)