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In the train by Tomasz Mielcarek

Translated from Polish by David Malcolm


In the train
By the embankment the grass was burning. The train whistled

scaring from the ditches confused birds.

A drunk man, laughing, told

a friend how when his wife’s away

he bullies his nine-year-old son.


The other listened focused, didn’t say a word.

He nodded. Ate dried nuts. The sinews

holding up his jaw tensed on his neck,

stretching the sweaty skin. When the conductor

came, they looked for their tickets a long time. At the next


station someone gave up a seat for an old lady.

I remember her surprised expression and suddenly

beaming face when she sits tired,

with an effort laying on her knees,

tied with a string, a torn plastic bag.


Tomasz Mielcarek




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