………..for Adam Zagajewski
I remember a Polish jazz combo I once saw in a movie
about Jews and nuns and suicide. It was after the war
and the band played in basement clubs – bass, drums,
a tenor sax. It must have taken place in the early 1960s,
I remember they mentioned Coltrane. It could have been
1939 or 1944, though, for all the city could say. Warsaw
looked as though it would flinch if you reached for its hand,
like it would turn and run if you opened your arms to her.
It looked the same as the sky this morning in Pittsburgh,
as if color hadn’t been invented yet. And neither had
compassion. We trudge through the sideways rain
and we are out of rhythm. My wife is reciting
the mortality statistics for women giving birth in America.
The numbers sounding no different than a litany of
the war dead. We’ve been trying to get pregnant.
The world needs more good people, my wife says.
She says things cannot continue this way. We have
a responsibility. I think I hear the barest whisper
of that beautiful song through the downpour as the high
wind cuts through the outstretched arms of bare trees,
or it could just be the crying of the bombs
as they start to fall.
Kristofer Collins is the books editor for Pittsburgh Magazine. He is the author of several poetry collections, most recently. Salsa Night at Hilo Town Tavern.published by Hyacinth Girl Press. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife and son.