“Recitation” by Paul Otremba



A window, so the light as it was; his hand
making a cup making a sieve. He had tried
a little, and the day before the same.
Moving across the room felt good
but too serious. A real retrograde descent.

“You’ll see,” she said. The phrase she’d read
about no things behind things had stuck,
as if a cord were there he could pull
to test it: the emptiness of knife, the white
bowl catching shells. By which she meant

to imply a meal, their own mediated position.
So too had he said river, Montparnasse,
coffee with milk, nickel tailings,
that particular shade of red. He set the table.
The base—being experiential—

somehow lending authenticity
to the stage where these pressures play out.
“There is a rhythm to this. You wait for it.
Ear to rough stone and all that.”
As if repeating the action constituted a belief.

“But this isn’t how we talk when the lights
come back on.” And after the pleasure
of fucking, they brought in sandwiches,
stayed up eating on the sheets.
There was no outside the bed.

Paul Otremba

Read The Rumpus Review of Paul Otremba’s first book of poems, The Currency.

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →