It’s probably all about

this clean line – Japanese poets,

seventeenth, eighteenth century.

Probably in a small town

which you know well or at least

visited once or twice,

with pines and wooden houses,

a cafe, a church, a derelict Jewish graveyard.

Probably something still remains

in the portfolio of an amateur photographer

(who most likely goes to the capital once a week

to capture scenes), unless

he’s already cropped

these black-and-white trees

and lilac bushes – perhaps not yet.

It’s probably about

a drawing with children, a swing,

a queue outside the shop, with a dog even,

a mutt caught by the dog-catcher

taken away on a flat cart seventeen years ago;

with a candle stub when the light goes out

and when you have to go to bed by candlelight.

The drawing’s to be clean:

underwear dries on a line,

a blue pyjama top’s just falling to the ground,

louder and louder someone’s voice calls out ‘Jurek, Jurek’;

next to the house, in the woods,

Jurek’s sister collects brush.

Piotr Sommer