In classical physics, the past is assumed to exist as
a definite series of events, but according to quantum
physics…only as a spectrum of possibilities.
Too often they kept on surfacing suddenly, stifling
like a blazing summer in childhood, scalding like the first
stranger’s touch, enticing like all those whoreson
numbers in an old address book, like music and singing
audible at twilight from a distant part of town.
In they pressed through every single skin pore, so
I shut them up in separate jam jars and took them down
to the cellar. Sometimes I remove a drop from each one,
mix them in a glass of water and look to see what would happen,
if. But ever more often, in the total silence,
I can hear something roaring and hissing in the cellar. One day
the jars will break, and the memories will merge into a single
oily puddle, which I shall enter, as into fire.
Translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.