Out of Town

By Piotr Sommer Piotr Sommer
Years later, the water still drips—
there's no one to tighten the valve.
It courses through old pipes
down to the septic tank.

Next morning in the cellar
I start the motor with a stick.   
It shakes and rumbles, and chirps—
the switch is broken is all.   

At night the water arrives
illegally, undergroundly,
to the very grave where
last spring parsley sprouted,

and at the foot, beside it,
feral sorrel darkens
tastily and tartly
like clandestine sex.

The motor lifts the spirits
and returns the night's deductions.
It's morning, I hum softly—
a stranger will replace me.   

In the cellar a stream of light   
rinses the window grate,
it pulses, strikes the meter—
I catch my rhythm on the stairs.

And for memory's sake I hum—
as I pass the septic tank—
a fluid, underground song
about sorrel and a stranger.

Source: Poetry (February 2005).

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This poem originally appeared in the February 2005 issue of Poetry magazine

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February 2005
 Piotr  Sommer

Biography

Piotr Sommer's most recent book of poems is Continued (Wesleyan University Press, 2005). He is editor for Literatura na Swiecie, a magazine of international writing. His collected poems, Po Ciemku Też, appeared in Poland in 2013.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Landscapes & Pastorals, Nature, Time & Brevity, Home Life, Relationships

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Metaphor

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