Joanna Lech


Silence. The focus was to be sharp, but the boys ran out of shot.
Waging wars against milk and cats, late already.
Let them be, the set empty but for knives and trainers tossed in the grass.

This time nothing refracts in the sun. In a moment, evening and women,
by the river, taking the washing in. Sheets stained with dried blood.
Let this be in place of narrative, of sunset, in place of everything. Let it.

Nearby, girls playing “house”, tiny princesses in white aprons.
You’ll turn into what you play, they screamed in fear when I wanted to act the witch
from another fairytale. Let it be so that everything comes in images

in place of touch. Let it. The child in the armchair flicking pages.
This an elephant, and this a giraffe, she tells father, though the book sprouts
poisoned mushrooms and hemp leaves. You will not outrun decay, whisper the wings

of nocturnal insects. I do not recognise myself in this, when the light changes.
I run my fingers through the lawn. Let it, let the world shrink before our eyes –
the snare is set, then you hear the lapping of a cat’s tongue as it runs along a blade.

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Such sweet October.  Leaves the shade of mud, rain, dried out spit.
As if today decay started a sequence – death’s lining.
It seems last night the river broke its banks, the wind tore up the rails.

It seems fossil traces can be glimpsed now, all you need do is look.
Meanwhile, a babe is born on the firing range, its fingers wire wrapped.
In an empty hospital a naked light bulb giving off opium vapours,

The dead amok in the corridors, surprised the rounds are yet to start.
Meanwhile, the fields run with floods. You, once again, sow the plague
by syringe, cut yourself on a beer bottle cap.

Likely this makes my pulse rust, my blood reek of clay. Let’s say
that tomorrow you will find nothing here – only sand, silt, scraps of paper.
A crater, as if the earth had burst a couple of days ago

and tried to swallow – rains, storms, the sky whole –

to chew it all, then to spit.

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Joanna Lech, born 1984, Poet, writer, author of the volume „Zapaść” (Biblioteka Arterii, Łódź 2009). Winner of numerous national poetry competitions, published widely including the print journals Opcje, Studium, Tygiel Kultury, Akcent, Wyspa, Ósmy arkusz Odry, Portret, Topos, Gazeta Wyborcza, Czas Kultury and the literary magazine Red. Graduate of the Literary-Arts faculty of Jagiellonian University, Krakow. Orignally from Rzeszow, currently living and working in Krakow.

Joanna Lech, ur. 1984 r. Poetka, prozaiczka, autorka tomu „Zapaść” (Biblioteka Arterii, Łódź 2009). Laureatka wielu ogólnopolskich konkursów poetyckich, w tym nagród głównych w XIII konkursie im. Jacka Bierezina w Łodzi i VI konkursie im. R. M. Rilkego w Sopocie. Publikowała w Opcjach, Studium, Tyglu Kultury, Akcencie, Wyspie, Ósmym arkuszu Odry, Portrecie, Toposie, Gazecie Wyborczej, Czasie Kultury oraz w czasopiśmie  literackim Red. Absolwentka Studium Literacko-Artystycznego przy Uniwersytecie Jagiellońskim. Pochodzi z Rzeszowa, od kilku lat mieszka i pracuje w Krakowie.