Two Poems by Rimas Uzgiris

In Transit

Kaunas, Lithuania, 1993

The trolley bus won’t go.
Its reins have fallen
from society’s hands.

When the driver lifts them up
a bolt of light breaks free
and we sink into silence again.

I have to go —
the flowers are wilting
and I have to go —

this can’t be my love,
our rusted hope, stalled
on an outer road

stuck in a traffic ring
while cars budge past,
elbowing us —

like the scowling crone in a cowl
pushing through an oblivious crowd,
a sewing pin stuck between fingers —

needling the corpse
of our post-Soviet, post-
modern transport.

This must be why
in Chagall’s paintings
the lovers always fly.

End Days

The Greyhound bus bumps back to
Boston — passing gentrified Southie

Where mother’s girlhood was grafted
Onto tough-talking American stalk.

Her first roots withered in Kaunas,
Her second grew skinny in Germany,

And our plane will fly back to Europe
Infected with this double saudade, with

This longing for lingering sensations
Spilled from cupboards of loam and leaves,

From the pungent mélange of the salt marsh
With its nattering kingfishers and gulls,

To the backward glance at tenement flats
Huddled below alien steel — winking at us

As we lift off in search of a lost omphalos
Lying in the Vilnius baroque; ever in flight

Between homes that slip through fragile fingers,
We travel mute as corpses, shipped in rows,

Tinned together, compressed as Baltic sprats,
Until Time, catching up, opens us all again.

About the author

Rimas Uzgiris is a poet and translator whose work has appeared in Barrow Street, Hudson Review, Paris Review, Poetry Review and other journals. He…

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Issue 24 · September 2021

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