Three cardboard houses.
Nobody lives there.
Sometimes I think I’m moving
into one of them.
I start a fire in the stove
and sit hunched in an armchair
while paper smoke rises from the chimney.
— Translated by Piotr Florczyk
Do you ever have days like this? Moments of absolute conviction that something is happening, when maybe, nothing in fact is? What does a poem like this mean to you? It is both precise and dreamy, a poem of utter compression. And the title — how does that impact your reading of this work?
The translator, Florczyk, describes Gutorow’s poems as able “to penetrate the dull scaffolding we erect about ourselves as we move through our daily lives.”
(By the way, the poem is aesthetically beautiful in its Polish form, which is placed beside it in this new collection, The Folding Star and Other Poems, BOA Editions, Ltd.)