Yesterday I Saw a Dog at the Tideline

Krystyna Dabrowska, translated by Mira Rosenthal


Yesterday I saw a dog at the tideline,
a young, black dog, how he kept falling headlong into the water,
chomping and plowing through, then instantly scared, retreated,
trotted along the edge of the beach—stopped—crept—nosed
the fringe of a wave, gingerly sniffing the depths
and prodding with his paw, butting heads, teasing the sea
as if provoking a huge old animal.

Better take him on a leash.
No need: his leash is the sea.

Yesterday I saw a dog at the tideline.
He was trying to bite through the water’s silver rope
then turned toward the dune-dump, raced to the parking lot,
already catching up to the paper cup on the pier,
already fishing from the sand some kind of dark object—
and then the sea yanked him back
and in a flash the dog was at the waves again
straining against his collar of metal drops.


 Krystyna Dąbrowska (born in 1979) is a poet, essayist, and translator. The author of four poetry books, in 2013 she won two of the most prestigious Polish literary prizes: the Wisława Szymborska Award and the Kościelski Award. She lives and works in Warsaw.

Mira Rosenthal, a poet and translator, is the author of The Local World. She has received numerous awards, including an NEA Fellowship, a Stegner Fellowship, the Northern California Book Award, and residencies at MacDowell and Hedgebrook.

Image: “Wait For Me!” by dolbinator1000, licensed under CC BY 2.0.