Valzhyna Mort

Window 109 by Anna Gille

Valzhyna Mort

Psalm 18 


I pray to the trees and language migrates down my legs like mute cattle. 

I pray to the wooden meat that never left its roots.

I, too, am meat braided into a string of thought.

I pray to the trees: 

luminescent in the dark garden 

is the square star 

of a window frame, my old bedroom. 

Ghosts, my teachers!


In the branches of lindens – breathe, my ghosts,

(blood in my ears!),

in the lindens – cheekbones, elbows

of my dead – in these green mirrors.  


How could it be that I’m from this Earth,

yet trees are also from this Earth? 


A laundry line sagged under bedding among weightless trees, 

yarrow and burdock, Bach’s fugue, Bach’s silence on our

wet clean sheets.  

Behind glass – portraits of the dead. 


Close the curtains – motionless, they watch.

Open the curtains – they tremble. 

Close the curtains – speechless, they watch. 

Open the curtains – they whisper. 

Trees, curtains – tremble.

On them 

the dead wipe this prayer off their tongues.