Giorgia Papagno


There’s a they and then there’s an us
And there’s a me in your bathtub
And there’s a you doing the dishes
And there an it – the pronoun we use to define this thing between us (again)
this inconvenient truth that does not concern dying polar bears and melting glaciers
When have we exactly become a genre up for deconstruction?
An antonymy?

But then again
Our staggering geometry brings me peace so why is my pulse fast
On the screen an academy award worthy fight of a famous couple 
He lays his head on my lap so I place my right elbow on his right shoulder
I twist my wrist to look at my watch he snaps his fingers and says
I remember this scene now – he’s going to sing and in ten minutes it’s over –
I feel his muscles tighten as he brings his knees to his chest 
And the sweat under my right hand on the side of his neck 
And a small wet stain on my thigh where his left eye touches my torn jeans
I hold the deepest sigh of my life and a whispered are you good trembles in my throat.



I linger on this evening at your house 
like you did at mine years ago on your first visit
touching, and naming things

I can trace your days in the mess of your desk
So there’s no need to ask how you spend them
(Painting, reading) 

I open the wood cabinets, tilt my head
I say “Is that really it?” 
at the desolation of your fridge 

You are fed up with cooking
You were fed up to the back teeth of having someone
In your kitchen in the morning 

“Sea Change” is playing 
for the second time around and we let it play
You had no idea I could whistle

Hungry and drowsy and shaky
after a long sweaty day by the river 
We lie on the couch, then in your bed. 

Now I sit zazen in front of an old movie we fluently quote 

© Giorgia Papagno

Giorgia Papagno is a teacher and writer currently based in Italy. She graduated in Modern Literature and Philology at Padova University (Italy), spent a semester at Columbia University, and worked as an Italian language teacher in Barcelona. Her writings have mostly been featured in Italian magazines (Clean, Lahar, AuralCrave) and went on stage as theatrical dramaturgies. Her first collection of poems Non sarò mai Manhattan (I’ll never be Manhattan) is in the process of being self-translated into English.

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