Scarpia (Aside)

By RICARDO PAU-LLOSA 

Tosca

I heard those ripened, muted swoons, although
that was no kiss—a dagger sunk into my chest.
What use authority if it cannot impose
a hidden will? The songbird, let her muse
the painter in his cavern, his mettle at the test,
while she flickers here for me, beyond sorrow
and contrition. We are all caught between tides,
like urchins sprung or crabs denied a nook
from ravenous waves. She’ll paint him a tale of flight
on a ship of words. I offer the blight
and bliss of wronged conviction, what the good book
prescribes for elevation. I am the night that hides
nothing, confesses the hunt, enables nature
purchase in the soul. To love is to endure.

 

[Purchase Issue 15 here.]

Ricardo Pau-Llosa’s eighth book of poems will be released later this year by his longtime publisher, Carnegie Mellon University Press. His poems have appeared recently, or will appear soon, in Ambit, The American Journal of Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Blackbird, Boston Review, Burnside Review, Colorado Review, december, The Hudson Review, Island, New England Review, Salamander, Stand, and Virginia Quarterly Review, among other publications. He also writes art criticism.

Scarpia (Aside)

Related Posts

Image of almonds pouring from a glass bowl.

Reina María Rodríguez: Poems in Translation

REINA MARÍA RODRÍGUEZ
Naturally, Flaubert’s parrot / could not be called Chucho, / his author wouldn’t stick him / with a name like that. / From which follows the importance of names. / But in the stories last night / —the reconstruction of a postcard / which we were creating...

Image of hill, river, and houses.

Joss

PATRICIA LIU
Paper is thin. In the beginning, still billows in the wind, still petal-like, still grounded in this world / of living. The incense is the only material that translates the viscera to mist. Early, the fog has not yet / lifted, and we move through the white drip as if through total darkness. Fish lost in the deep under- / water.

poetry feature image

March 2021 Poetry Feature: Sylvie Durbec

SYLVIE DURBEC
I still don’t know how to type a tilde on a computer keyboard / when writing the name of a Spanish or Portuguese writer I love. / Nor do I know what poetry is. / I don’t know whether we need it. Or not. / And what we really need here. / Elsewhere, water, bread, milk.