For the last time I wash the shirt
of my father who died.
The shirt smells of sweat. I remember
that sweat from my childhood,
so many years
I washed his shirts and underwear,
I dried them
at an iron stove in the workshop,
he would put them on unironed.
From among all bodies in the world,
only one exuded that sweat.
I breathe it in
for the last time. Washing this shirt
I destroy it
only paintings survive of him
which smell of oils.
Anna Swir (Translated from the Polish by Czeslaw Milosz and Leonard Nathan)