Passport

—after Ilya Kaminsky


A country of origin in a grandmother’s jewelry box. Old and ornate, baubles heavy on the lobe.
The city is built in spires. My ears are not pierced.




Orientation: Promiňte, kde je metrem? Straight, then to the right. A kde jsou moji duchové?
Saving you a seat on the train.

Legacy: Blood is fractal as opposed to fractional. Bronzed branches on autumnal oaks are not ¼
alchemists.

Translation: If you are in Old Town, you are in Old Town. If you walk across a bridge, you are
in Malá Strana. What is the latitude of your language now?

Threshold: (See also: pain.) The point at which this vision begins to take on properties of the
nightmare. He broke his sandal on the doorframe. Look for the detached leather strap round his
foot as he toils in the field and call him king. Libuše loosened into myth. You do not yet know
you do not come from here.

Pronunciation: A háček is the difference between halve and have.

 
 

Emily Wilson is currently pursuing an MFA in poetry at the University of North Carolina Wilmington as a graduate teaching assistant. Her poetry, translations, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Asymptote, Bustle, Green Mountains Review, Passages North, and The Raleigh Review, among others. Nominated for inclusion in the Best New Poets series and for an AWP Intro Journals Award, she received the 2013-2014 Kert Green fellowship, was first runner-up in the 2014 Indiana Review Poetry Prize, and won the 2012 Emma Howell Memorial Poetry Prize.