A poem for my Vatko

Vatko i ja

Long, not long ago
the little piggy went to the market
with the help of your fingers;
through touch
you recited poetry to me for the first time.

Back then, I walked up the stairs by lift
woven from your strong arms,
on the staircase, step by step
the neighbours heard the echoes of my happiness.

When I would not behave
I stood in corners, getting wiser;
you counted obedience on your fingers,
taught me to reach out my hand in peace,
tighten it to a fist when necessary.

Childish miniature of an adult one:
yours big, mine small;
despite gender and generation difference
almost identical.

Yours marked by work, full of responsibility.
In hardened fingertips
the rhythm of life chiselled with grease.
Mine innocent, pink-soft,
An eina underneath the plaster on the middle finger.

You taught me to use a screwdriver,
to put nipples on spokes with skilled fingers.
You strongly held the seat of my yellow bike
before I rode away

Alone, all grown-up, into the big world;
in search of the piggy and my happiness.
When I want to be nearer to you
I cut my nails short and lay
my hand on invisible shadows.

Today my fingers, born of you, write poetry.

(Written for my Vatko’s 50th birthday a few years ago. Translated from Polish.)

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