I Wish I Had a Master

               for S.F.

I wish I had a master
to teach me how to live,
to eat with knife and fork
as well as to write poems

he’d tell me how the stars
like people
are born and die
and like people
live in constellations

I’d listen to my master
attentively
for one stray word
would mean the fall of kingdoms
the suspension of time

my master’s words
carved from the body
would be clear.

Translation of “[Chciałabym mieć miestrza].” © Julia Fiedorczuk. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2011 by Benjamin Paloff. All rights reserved.