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3 poems by Agnieszka Tworek

Love Letter Found in a Lumberyard

So I try to forget that even bees wage wars,

that a dolphin may kill her own calves,

that a bull too will charge an innocent crowd,

that the Earth’s health has been compromised

and it’s almost impossible to bring her fever down.

So I try to forget the terror of living

and as I stand barefoot in the doorway,

a blue teacup warming my hands,

I dictate a letter for you to the rain.

Each letter hits the windowpanes

of the house where you live.

Can you hear it? 

Maybe one day I will be a fossil

in the stone of your heart.

Or I will turn into a willow tree

and I will gift you oxygen.

Maybe one day you will sit in my shade

below mourning doves sheltered in a nest

and read a paper with happier news

than what we hear today.

Or I will block out the sun from your yard

and you will take an axe and cut me down.

Canter Toward Home

When you and your sons arrive

at a forest, trees wrap their arms

around you, like beloved aunts

whom you haven’t seen in ages,

and they feed you mulberries.

Three horses wait for you by the creek

illuminated by lightning bugs and the Moon.

You mount them and let yourself be guided.

You are holding on, holding onto them

as you ride among maples, beavers, and owls.

The horses teach you not to trudge but to canter

along life’s dirt roads and roadways.

You practice breathing in hope

as you lope through a forest,

once ravaged by an ice storm.

Finally, you arrive at the other side,

a secret meadow owned by horses,

where you graze on stars

and you dye

the sorrow


Exterior Renovations

The children stare into a broken heart

with a kaleidoscope

and fix it with tweezers and a tiny mallet.

They loosen blocked arteries

with a nursery rhyme and a wrench.

They draw bees on a piece of paper

and blow hard enough to bring them to life.

They hide giraffes and tigers

behind the sandbox in the backyard

to save them from poachers.

Can you repair everything? I ask them.


Even the world?

They nod.

No extra fees,

No weekend charges.

You have all the tools?

Yes, we do.

They stuff their backpacks with a few blocks,

a rubber eraser, and a toy drill.

Let’s go then, I say

as I turn a rug into a raft

and take off

with the children

and a jar of honey

for the journey

to repair

the mangled earth.


Agnieszka Tworek was born in Lublin, Poland, and arrived in the United States when she was eighteen. Her poems have been published in Ploughshares, The Sun, The Best American Poetry 2018, Poetry Northwest, The Southern Review, Rattle, and elsewhere. She lives on Staten Island.


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