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Paul Otremba

Paul Otremba received an MFA from the University of Maryland and a PhD from the University of Houston. He published three collections of poetry: Levee (Four Way Books), which is forthcoming in 2019, Pax Americana (Four Way Books, 2015), and The Currency (Four Way Books, 2009). He taught at Rice University and in the Warren Wilson low-residency MFA program. Otremba, who lived in Houston, Texas, died on June 24, 2019.

By This Poet



I don't think they'll find the new weaving
anywhere finer than truth.
—Osip Mandelstam

I've tried to sift a truth finer than salt
from my mouth. It matters: I get up

or I do not. The books can wait, leaves
burn themselves these days, and the day

begins or it does not. Now wingless,
a wasp masquerading as the sun crawls—

a harmless razor—across the backlit
curtain. No city trembles on the verge

of the sea. No stupid bird threatens
to dissolve me if I forget my species

in the official questionnaire. I could
put my ten bureaucrats to their task.

The dusting and polishing. There's a point,
a mirror for me to enumerate my teeth.

Beyond these walls, there's only the snowed-in
field, an egg just opened but empty.