Derek Gromadzki


Derek Gromadzki

Derek Gromadzki







A thumb smudge and a           shudder

           of knuckle play about the hinge 

oil arabesques on a windmill

inside a  cylinder

                                   anchored  to  all

                      the  weight  of  anything

                 that  never  weighed  at  all.

        Somewhere an aquarelle château

and a countess  –   ribbons in chignon  

                                  and a lapis pin – 

walks patterns sub-

           tending  intarsia

                    in   her winter garden

                               wears a little clock

                                       in a telescope 

tube around her neck         and dreams

of wings perhaps and 













                     She’ll say she heard   that

                                  things with wings

                                        like windmills

only  seem  to  fly           

she heard                       that

arrows                            like wings

for all their feathers        are  fixed             

                                        in   place

or place is a change that annexes 


stuck coming forward in circles:  the

clockwork bluebells in a burning glass

                                  on a papered wall

                          where she tilts the tube

off kilter  and sundown rigs the lens –

a convex lantern

cast onto Toile de Jouy  at crepuscule

– as if outward from herself were east













and on the wall     tick-

                   tock    antinomies

                               of instants        spin

                               at sixes and sevens:
no points     but

a prism’s     faultlines

confined      in rotary motion appliqué

                               a tinny metronome

         affianced  to  afterglow.

One  footfall

luciform on varnish

begins a memory – 

buttons  she counts backwards

               from mother of pearl

                           to the ormering tides

                              outing ormer shells                       

       salt air  and something like indigo 

       up to her shins 












– a color of sea that was that

cannot be

so the sea surrenders
                 to verdigris – 

an overcast

like ormolu

worn where the green shows through

last seen   in

the space between the space between

                       lead leaving a leadlight

and quartet reflections of four o’clock.

Another step is a slipper waylaid

in a series of slippers and al-

ways partway less than one

                               and  already  later

              in a past the present precedes

     where time will lay its arrow down

     inside itself.












Then would 

 that   would

            were    is
                              and she would stay

                           when she was


– if seasons were whin and blackberry

bits of road

detours   to

                       sundial driftwood stood

                                          in  the  sand

and hours no taller than a girl is small.

            She said a prayer to shade she

             wrote a wish on foolscap

             and sailed it on the wind:

I  might

I  may – 

a violin wasp carried her wish away.












A handiwork hum    it was

                             a   lullaby

lived in her ear and breathed 

vibrato  a  breath

a quavering  now

                          now tuning fork ferns

                            rehearse an antode’s

      opposite song an open window ex-


      from a parterre

               aperture in false perspective

and so much of the same is the same

she thinks

                 as the wrong difference and

                                    what difference

                 divides            seconds from


                 or stiches in minutes













            a pocket full of nine any nine

            from any number      for rags

            or tags and


before numbers fumble over


pin pinpricks and fibula snags  a few

more than a few stalks of thread that

bellwether fray   pleats    deciphered

by    pirouettes     and    pantomimes

of    pirouettes     or bullion fretwork

on a furbelow


            in the shadow of a chandelier

                          hung from a candle – 

black                 on  black  lacquer  

a  chronograph                 set  to  drag

dragging  years        across  the  floor.

















Syncope   stops short of turning back

                      a short stay on the peri-

meter         she’ll say of otherwise

and lets relation have its way with

unrelated parts of afternoons

apart from empty

                                    spaces and the

                                forms and shapes

area makes to shape a life in rooms.

A  crooked  kind  of  edgeless-


interior to steam has capered and will

between tealeaves and tealeaf dust a                  

gearworks winds down a duet

for dauphine hands she

rewinds and nickel inflicted on nickel

              overhauls    another    matins







Derek Gromadzki’s poems are forthcoming in Sonora Review, Upstairs at Duroc, and Witness, and they have appeared recently in Barn Owl Review, The Buenos Aires Review, Seneca Review, Spittoon, and Wave Composition. He holds MFAs from Brown University and the University of Iowa, where he is currently pursuing his PhD as a Presidential Graduate Fellow in Comparative Literature.