poems by Sara Pleșa-Popescu

The Railway


There used to be a railway line in our home,

but our house was made of stone and steel.

We used to hide from trains right to the windows

and look over the smoke wreathed hills,

every ten hours,

from Monday to Saturday.


On Sunday evenings you were hosting modest gatherings,

with all the passengers from the platform.

At first, they were awaiting too,

outside our house, for someone long forgotten.

But you never had the heart to let them still for so long.

One by one, you were carrying them inside with great devotion,

placing their bodies on chairs, arraying them,

just like you arrayed that railway in our home,

like you arrayed us

– you split everything in half.


That night, you sat down at our table, speeding like vertigo.

You were holding a stained cup of tea,

and your hands were trembling.

Your face seemed like a Chinese ivory carving:

fragile, scratched.

For the first time, you looked suspicious at our guests,

like you just had an epiphany.


“God bless you!” – I said to you as the cup was breaking.

Breaking, unbreaking, then breaking again

in a perpetuum mobile.

But the cup did not break from their poison

and nor did you.

As the night has passed,

you both had shattered from the same familiar vibrations.

It was already Monday




Ring all the bells


Reminiscing an archaic liturgical celebration,

the missionaries had laughed and rung the bells

seventy times that day.

Not for the years that had passed,

but for the ones they’ll get to live

within your absence.

Back then, some still believed the bells could ring themselves,

making of this, above it all,

only an empty superstition.


You took your coffee black

and sprinkled with a grain of salt,

to ease the sleepless nights.

You loathed the old countryside

with the same strength you loathed

the mighty industrial towns

– like there was no in between,

and nothing but a pervert filthiness



“Everything’s immortal!” – you used to scream your lungs out

and spit their mocking faces,

while yours was going red

– every time.

Your fights were nothing but a Pyrrhic victory,

your taste was bitter, your pain in vain.

You were found down to the sea a year later,

and left there for sixty-nine more.

– in their eyes, the unhinged never deserves

a funeral.


“Here lies the drunken sailor man unburied”

– that’s what was written just above your head,

where the sea still meets your graceful bones


You never had to feel the land.

Over one hundred forty years of existence

on this Earth,

and rumor has it that you leave the lights on

every night and morning,

when you depart

to wander aimlessly throughout the waters.





poems by Sara Pleșa-Popescu

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