The National Catholic Review
To Thomas Merton

He splits wood,
leaves few footprints in the snow
their lives shorter than that of the small
pine tree fire
above which he warms his hands
before dovetailing
the icon frames
before taking back to his hut an ice cube,
water he’ll use at twilight
to make coffee,
its black eyesole indulgence,
its fragant eyesole gratification.

He leaves few footprints in the snow
and they’re quickly swept away by birds
for whom he sows wheat and crumbs
under the window where he reads the Psalms.

Translated from the Romanian by Mihaela Moscaliuc and Michael Waters

Liliana Ursu teaches at the University of Bucharest. The most recent English translation of her poetry is Goldsmith Market (Zephyr Press, 2003). Michael Waters is author of Contemporary American Poetry (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) and teaches at Salisbury University, Md. Mihaela Moscaliuc has published in Soundings, TriQuarterly and Arts & Letters.

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