After Jan van Eyck’s Annunciation
(on the wings of the Ghent Altarpiece)
In the space between Mary and the Angel
There is a still life, a linen cloth.
The flax plant is violet blue or white.
It blooms only one day.
Then it must be uprooted & spread out
on the field exposed to rain & dew.
It takes days for flax to be servile; to convert
Then hours and days and years of spinning
so many threads that nothing looks like a miracle
but a worker’s yes, her hackling, scotching,
and – then – continuous tapping of her foot.
from multitudes of fibers aligned —
The poet migrates to campus
We are thrilled that you agree to speak at our event. We hope you find this travel plan suitable. No need to keep receipts. Just draw a picture of a person from financial department services and compose a poem in their voice. Here is the travel plan: take a twenty-two hour bus to Minnesota. Then crawl through a tunnel. Then sleep in the cargo hold of a truck, which will give you a ride straight to the campus. There will be nobody to greet you. In the meantime, we will provide the food for you at the student cafeteria. We recommend the tater tots.
Once you get to the event, a hot towel will be provided to soothe you.
And now that you are here, we are so sorry that there are only five people in the audience. Our students are assigned a paper on you and this is why they had to skip your reading to finish their assignment.
Here is your honorarium.
We want you to understand that as an option you can choose to donate your honorarium to our pledge drive. But it’s not really an option. Thank you for your donation.
EWA CHRUSCIEL is a poet, teacher, and translator. She has three books of poems in English: Of Annunciations (Omnidawn 2017), Contraband of Hoopoe (Omnidawn 2014), and Strata (Emergency Press 2009, reprinted by Omnidawn in April 2018), as well as three books in Polish: Tobołek, Sopiłki, and Furkot. Her book Contraband of Hoopoe was translated into Italian by Anna Aresi and is forthcoming in Italy with Edizioni Ensemble in March 2019.
She has also translated selected books by Jack London, Joseph Conrad, and I.B. Singer, as well as the book of selected poems by Jorie Graham, and selected poems of Kazim Ali, Lyn Hejinian, Cole Swensen, and other American poets into Polish.
She is an Associate Prof. of Humanities at Colby-Sawyer College.