And the façades of Warsaw bared
their scrubbed-up skins; liveried waiters

offered nothing on the menu; bath water
rusted; the country roads were calm,

a past I sought long overgrown,
the state of currency still volatile,

human traces vague, all guesses wild.
Nothing left to find; nothing and no one.

But oh, the language: soft-tongued,
apologetic; those legends of tracks

pointing towards infinity; haystacks,
horse-drawn carts; disappearing villages

where elders with wizened sensibilities,
surely hungry for redemption, would

offer water, sanctuary and bread.
Perhaps they remembered. Perhaps

going about their rural business
they thought of all those trains; night

and day, the passing of human freight.
But then again, perhaps not.

Marta Zamarska, Misty Rails, batik (paint and hot wax on fabric), 2008 Used by permission.