MILA HAUGOVÁ born 1942
TO WITHSTAND EVIL
Alfa lives on. She sleeps less.
She hardly dreams. She loves much more.
She blooms in the wastefulness of autumn.
Her sight weakens.
She suffers a silent, deaf mating.
She is afraid.
A man in a circle of evil. Around his neck, blood.
Alfa conceals herself from him, the household serpent hides away.
Can one withstand evil only with evil?
Alfa steps out over the world precipice.
Her brow is furrowed. Her hands are devoted
to movement; she dresses wounds, buries
the dead, comforts abandoned children,
cultivates healing herbs in her garden,
plucks fruit, waters the parched earth,
wanders beneath the trees at night,
intercedes with the long dead.
Far from her the man is lost in a labyrinth of faces.
It's Sunday. Alfa draws breath, her hands folded
in her lap like thousands of women before.
She does not pray. What she sees and knows
is too much for God. She has to bear it alone.
She holds on to loneliness, the world, morning ...
From Scent of the Unseen Arc Publications: Visible Poets Series 2004