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Claudia Serea

If I could go back in time

After the Raid by Pavel Filonov

I’d be a gust of wind
through the window with lace curtains,
rushing in right before the black car
turned onto the street,

approaching my father’s house
with a crunchy sound
as if driving over skulls.

I’d inhale
and blow into the room right before the men
slam the door open.

No one would see me knocking off the table
my father’s high school notebook
filled with poems.

It would fall
between the wall and the bed,
and the Securitate would never find it.

The flame would crawl into the match,
the spider would swallow back its web,

and my father would be spared.

He’d never meet my mom after prison,
and never know about the breeze
that swelled the curtains, exhaled,
and disappeared.


About the writer:
Claudia Serea is a Romanian-born poet with poems and translations published in Field, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, The Puritan, Oxford Poetry, and elsewhere. She is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Writing on the Walls at Night (Unsolicited Press, 2022). Serea won the Joanne Scott Kennedy Memorial Prize from the Poetry Society of Virginia, the New Letters Readers Award, and the Franklin-Christoph Merit Award. Her poems have been translated in French, Italian, Russian, Arabic, and Farsi and featured on The Writer’s Almanac. Her collection of selected poems translated into Arabic, Tonight I’ll Become a Lake into which You’ll Sink, was published in 2021. She is a founding editor of National Translation Month, serves on the board of The Red Wheelbarrow Poets, and co-hosts their monthly readings.

Image: After the Raid by Pavel Filonov (1882-1941). No medium specified. No size specified. Before 1941. Public domain.

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