Published on Academy of American Poets (


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.


From Currency by Paul Otremba. Copyright © 2009 by Paul Otremba. Used by permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.


Paul Otremba

Paul Otremba published three collections of poetry, including Pax Americana (Four Way Books, 2015).

Date Published: 2009-01-01

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