Untitled #4

Poem By Algimantas Mackus

It's not to go to sleep we gather
in sleeping quarters,
or to pour a dream together we carry
sand in on our bodies.

Maria survived.
She outgrew the grave.
Her earth breast
filled with bronze milk.
Her teeth gleamed white.
Just as you spread your bedding for death,
her eyes blazed
a hot afterglow from the homefire.

It's not to dream dreams we gather
in sleeping quarters,
but to get the feel of death we fall
into a bed all made.

Maria no longer slept,
once she had the family amulet
fit a gash in her neck.
No more ghosts rapped her window
begging to be clothed and fed.

The handouts held back for yourselves
before you'd take on their language,
with skullfuls of scalding coffee
to drink from at night.

A fish the storm tossed up
stinks and stinks down by the lakeside,
with the same mean vexing drone
flies keep up all night long.

It's our loins giving out, now we have
no land left to leave the children,
all our family buried off, breaking apart
bone by bone into dust.
Father wails his lament for the legacy
left behind in a church back in Vilnius.
Dampness seeps in and spreads
all through the vacant family vault.

The words we speak fade
as this language of ours dies away.
Water brims the boats
our tribe first set out in.
All down the empty wreck of a coast
there's no one waiting for us to come back.
The words we speak survive this
language of ours, now it's dead.

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Other poems of MACKUS

Dying Is Strange

The one night I got to spend enjoying spring
would have to be the one I hit the dirt,
though the dew had turned green earlier,
much greener than anything that spring.

In Triumph

And death won't be won over.
Dead men don't turn back
once their elbows prop rubble,
with the north moon's north eye

From A Misty Autumn Morning

I never loved the earth.
I meant to leave it
to its loneliness.

In Mourning

Right at seven that morning
right then at seven a.m.
it was that morning at seven
death had to have homage shown.


I would lift your body into the crown of a green tree
if I had a tree

Talk About The Dead Being Born

Here's one place torture broke down.
I frown and am reassured
God is on our side.
Gott mit uns.