Poem – The Rain 

When my older brother 

came back from war 

he had on his forehead a little silver star 

and under the star 

an abyss 

a splinter of shrapnel 

hit him at Verdun 

or perhaps at Grünwald 

(he’d forgotten the details) 

he used to talk much 

in many languages 

but he liked most of all 

the language of history 

until losing breath 

he commanded his dead pals to run 

Roland Kowaski Hannibal 

he shouted 

that this was the last crusade 

that Carthage soon would fall 

and then sobbing confessed 

that Napoleon did not like him 

we looked at him 

getting paler and paler 

abandoned by his senses 

he turned slowly into a monument 

into musical shells of ears 

entered a stone forest 

and the skin of his face 

was secured 

with the blind dry 

buttons of eyes 

nothing was left him 

but touch 

what stories 

he told with his hands 

in the right he had romances 

in the left soldier’s memories 

they took my brother 

and carried him out of town 

he returns every fall 

slim and very quiet 

he does not want to come in 

he knocks at the window for me 

we walk together in the streets 

and he recites to me 

improbable tales 

touching my face 

with blind fingers of rain