Alicja Kusiak-Brownstein


I have always known 

what had happened here 


maybe I overheard it 

in my mother’s womb 


maybe she overheard it 

in her mother’s womb 


and her own womb 

whispered to me 

what had happened here 


this place is my womb 

as it used to be theirs 


I have fed on their bones 

and dreams 

reluctantly and insatiably 

a blessed curse 

a cursed blessing 



I have always known

that I should seek out their presence 

in the night sky 

rather than in muddy soil 



I have always known 

that I should sense their presence 

in wild flowers 

rather than in their crumbling possessions 





those who walked my paths 

whose eyes turned into sand 

whose fingers turned into tree roots 

whose voices linger in my dreams 

whose dreams linger in my memory 


gazed at the same sky 

and touched the same wild flowers 



I have always known 

anticipated, missed, and dreaded 

the same fate 

seeking a refuge 

in the night sky 

and in wild flowers

Alicja Kusiak-Brownstein is a historian by profession, and native to Poland. She has been living in the U.S. since 2003. A graduate from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with Ph.D. in history, she taught for a while at the University of Notre Dame. Currently, she is shifting her career to social services (psychotherapy), studying at the University of Chicago. Her previous publications include scholarly articles, as well as articles in popular press. She published extensively on history, feminism, social issues, and fine arts. She ventures into poetry in search of a new mode of expression.