John Minczeski
 

John Minczeski's fifth full-length collection, A Letter to Serafin, will be published by the University of Akron Press in Summer, '09. He is also the author of several chapbooks (November, Finishing Line Press, '07 and Grass Elegy Red Dragonfly Press, '07), and his poems have appeared in journals around the US. He is the editor of Concert at Chopin's House: A Collection of Polish-American Writing, published by New Rivers Press in 1988. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.


A Letter to Serafin

Serafin, orphaned angel,
all that's left is a few pigs,
some rutabagas, and winter wheat.
Your great-grandchildren,

heirs to your legacy of dirt,
cultivate dialects like snow.
I am speaking from a suburb of St. Paul.
It is October. I am not raking

or composting. Nothing remains the same-
a galvanized roof shines on top of your house;
nobody has time for thatching anymore-
yet everything is the same.

The family, having gathered beets,
came from hunting mushrooms
to set out sausage and relishes.

What was I doing there, they asked,
how old was I? More tea?
Vodka? And everything made by hand-
you-d feel at home.

They laid out inventories from the war-
a hand blown off by a land mine in the field,
a father who walked home from Germany
more bone than flesh.
Bankruptcies keep filtering down-
stifled inheritances,
a grimace mistaken for a smile.

The animals remain-pigs, a cow staked out
in a field to graze-descended from those
you fed, who adored you,
whoever you were, Serafin.
 

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