Richter Scale, Bucharest

By TARA SKURTU

Our first week, you showed me around
your empty capital in a dream. We skipped

Parliament and headed down Calea Victoriei,
lit beeswax candles for the living,


drank jasmine tea at Serendipity, then
a big one hit. I would’ve asked

what happened next, but I was in it, I knew,
I could feel it: you’d have saved yourself

if it weren’t for each day you forget how.
You’re like that musicologist I’ve read about—

seventeen-second memory. Every 3.4
blinks, forgets what he’s forked into his mouth,

his daughter’s name, his own. Every I
he writes, once written, a trick

of someone else’s hand. He remembers
composition, and he remembers his wife.

Every time he sees her he’s seeing her
for the first time in ten years, and he wants

to waltz. Every time she walks into his room
she steps around a box. I am this wife.

I’m stuck in your village, walking
a chicken on a leash. He pecks the ring of sun-

flower seeds around this house on Lavender Street
—lavender in another language. We’re stuck

in November, he and I, waiting for you
to walk into the side yard, past the little black

dog tunneling a lattice of wormholes in the dirt.

 

 

Tara Skurtu teaches Creative Writing at Boston University, where she received a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship and an Academy of American Poets Prize. 

Richter Scale, Bucharest

Related Posts

owl graffiti

Histories

SARAH DUNPHY-LELII
I once dated a bull rider, which is very interesting, I still find. He was at the time no longer a bull rider, he had rather been one in his youth, but this lingered, as you might expect.

Kentucky farmland

64-West & KY State Fair

D.S. WALDMAN
And how, / if we keep going, pushing ourselves farther / from ourselves, we’d see, eventually, the blankness / we were one day born into. / I forget what you / told me after—I think it had something to do / with loneliness.     

Zebra finches on a branch

Anticipating, Zebra Finches

JOHN KINSELLA
Just below, a roo doe digs into the softest / soil it can find — avoiding rocks — to make / a hollow for itself and the joey heavy in its pouch; / it lifts, digs, turns drops lifts digs turns drops.