At Kryziu Kalnas
--The Hill of Crosses, hanging my cross  
    Lina ramona Vitkauskas

Soft, lulling, moment like grated feathers,
we are gems of remembering, we are graves.
facets of concrete slabs,
these moments hollow our faces
like thin rice paper--
quiet, bare, translucent.
we are moments in our moments,
carrying eastward our unsure principles.
we are foreigners to our own hands,
fingers and bones blanched by wine.
come to these moments in the wake of
mornings after jolting awake,
this new moment waits.

seven cats came to greet me, Jurate and Kastytis* of the sea  

    Lina ramona Vitkauskas

their tails unfurled at Nida,
long plateau full of mushrooms.
we rode the ferry across from Klaipeda,
the depths of marios** below us.
I heard an American conversation
and my ears pricked up from incognizant potato slumber.

we sailed on to Aitvaras, no rooms for the fall.
the summer had left here years before.
as we stepped onto the pier to smell the last burning of
smoked cod buttered with onion, I took a long bite of the wind.
we turned and seven cats greeted us, hungry looks
before the sea goddess statue of Jurate,
like Christian Andersen's mermaid with Medusa's gaze.

grandmother huddled them together
dolling feathery fish flesh away from delicate, transparent bones,
telling them she could hear Perkunas rumble above.
their oil-spotted tails unfurled at Nida,
a mewing seven chorus as the shore searched for amber.

Note: *A Lithuanian myth of the sea goddess, Jurate, who falls in love with a mortal fisherman, Kastytis. The thunder god, Perkunas, becomes enraged and destroys Jurate's castle of amber. It is said that this is why amber is always found on the shores of the Baltic after a storm.

** Marshlands; swamp

Lina ramona Vitkauskas, web designer and fiction editor for the literary publication, milk magazine, has received an Honorable Mention for STORY Magazine's Carson McCullers Prize for the Short Story (1999). Her work appears in Mississippi Review online,, The Wisconsin Review, Editor's Pick on Web Del Sol, The Poet, Mudlark, Lithuanian Poets, and was recently "cyberbagged" (in a good way) on Exquisite Corpse. Upcoming poetry will be included in the RAINN-supported anthology, Survivor Poetry.


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