Leo Yankevich Poems
Apollo’s Archaic Torso
(after the German of Rainer Maria Rilke)
We have no knowledge of his ancient brow
where pippins ripen. Yet his torso gleams,
reflecting the candela, luminous streams
that yet pour from his gaze, his glance’s glow
still radiant, though dimmed. If not, his bare
breast would not blind you in the silent turn
of hip and thighs, a smile not flash and burn
through groins, his genitals not ever glare.
If not, this stone would seem deformed and small,
the light beneath his shoulder’s sudden fall
not seem a preying panther’s shimmering mane, ...
The Last Silesian
Above us: cawing rooks and grey clouds.
Around us: leafless trees and falling snow.
It’s late in January, 60 years
since Gleiwitz-Petersdorf was “liberated.”
Anne, a frail and tiny woman of eighty,
and the last Silesian on our street,
points her left hand toward the frozen ground
and rests her right upon a walking stick.