Watch Me Grow Strong and Blind,

after Esperalia, d. J. Kalina, 1983

Watch Me Grow Strong and Blind,
Photo by Maria Oswalt / Unsplash

by David Wojciechowski

Everything here moves slower. It’s all behind a fog and covered in leaves. Here, birds fly across a man’s face as he collects trash. A spike on a stick. A bag on his back. He learns something as he slips. His hands dig into the earth for a grip, and he sees a birthday he doesn’t remember. He looks to the left: his parents. He looks to the right: him at 9, his bike upside down, he’s spinning the pedal with his hand. 

Everything moves slowly here. Friends and family try to make bird sounds, but they come out slow and metallic. This hill looks like his grandfather. He finds an old umbrella. He opens it. A day at the fair, his dad is holding him, and a balloon is loosed from a small grip. 

In moving, everything here is slow. Even now, under an old coat, a man collects trash amongst leaves and fog. He moves with his bag to the entrance. A bench is in his path. He sits, dumps out the contents of his bag. Birds come to his feet, pecking at things he’s forgetting.

title borrows a line from Osip Mandelstam’s “I raise this greenery to my lips—”

David Wojciechowski is the author of Dreams I Never Told You & Letters I Never Sent (Gold Wake, 2017) and the chapbook Koniec (End) (Greying Ghost, 2023). His poems can be found in BateauBending GenresHADMeridian, Willow Springs, and elsewhere. David is a freelance graphic designer and can be found at and on Twitter and Instagram @MrWojoRising.