Pierre Alferi, p.3

Second room. When the host assumes your face,
the presence that places didn’t get from me,
a confrontation begins. Come on, stop grumbling. You
reproach me for your reticence, your fear of moving in.

My student room looked onto a vast courtyard,
a white sun, a bare tree, the lime blossom of the Winterreise.
A single space which assured the principal services,
relegating to second rank, to the outside, at least one element
of the short vital list—eating, sleeping, washing, reading.
A pigeon hole, a variation on the sparest architectonic theme:
the cube.
In a small iron frame,
under a three-digit number, there was a name on the door;
inside I cast a shadow still trembling,
that zigzags between a practical narrow bed and desk,
shelves. Mere coincidence, but to which you owed
this first suspicious, unhealthy feeling of autonomy.

You were this shadow, and much more, sized
to the angles of the room. We followed a blind hallway,
brown linoleum, neon. You came here to make love.
I slid into your cold sheets, we heard steps.
Each at his post day and night, the single window blinking,
emitted signals, eyed the city without embracing it,
a fire spotter. But the scenes through the partition
and—worse—the reconciliations? I didn’t have my place.

Echo and discord, a demand answered by a demand.
I remember a half-opened earring that had fallen,
the parting of voices, a personal quarrel. The second
passes the first. Yet you spend your days alone,
like you did then, like a page, like a room.

The second act is not to meet, but
to give way in front of the door. I almost never feel
the pang of solitude or its dilation; one is
more than one to a room, or less, yet contained.