“Things My Mother Taught Me” by Marek Kulig

“I not can to you teach English,” 
she said. Those words, that order, 
her thinking order, because  
“Ja nie mogę cię nauczyć angielskiego.” 

She says my name the way I’m supposed to, 
only when you’re 7 and don’t speak English 
good and just met friends say Eric,
it’s ok.
    Marek, like at the dentist, and open, 
say ahh	 No, not Marek, like the air
between us, the space across which I cannot
Polish English into what I teach you. 

Marek Kulig was born in Poland and raised in New Jersey. His poems and translations were published or are about to be published in The Under Review, 86 Logic, Fish Publishing, Seneca Review, Entropy, Cagibi, National Translation Month, and elsewhere.