Siegfried Mortkowitz




sometimes at night, just before I turn off the lights
and shut myself into the night, before I have read
that magazine piece about an eccentric artist
working on an exact replica of the entire world
or googled the symptoms of some rare fatal disease,
just to be sure I am still immortal,
before I have checked on the whereabouts
of the cat, to see if he has climbed
into that small nook under the sink
when the trash bin was open
or has not been locked out on the balcony,
but after I have smoked my last cigarette and
emptied the last bottle of wine and
made a mental note to buy more wine soon,
after I have checked on my sleeping son, to make sure
he is still breathing, though he always is,
after I have locked the front door,
after I have taken out my false teeth
and brushed the real ones,
after I have contemplated my half-toothless grin in the mirror
and compared it, favorably, to a baboon’s butt,
after I have examined the night for stars and found none,
just a sheet of ammoniac light plastered against the sky
by the gaseous metropolis in which I now live,
and after I have asked myself again
if it would not be better to live somewhere else,
anywhere else,
after I have decided not to think about tomorrow
because there is always a tomorrow
until there isn’t,
and after I remembered, for no reason at all,
that night we parked my old Rambler in a field
of wildflowers not far from where you now live
and a storm erupted that seized us in its violent fist,
and we clung to each other for dear life
as all lovers do –
o Christ, all the years that have passed
since the days we spent inside each other’s skin
in a single night’s dream.


SIEGFRIED MORTKOWITZ works as a free-lance journalist and lives in Prague. His work has appeared in B O D Y, Brown’s Window, The Prague Revue, and After Hours. His first chapbook, Eating Brains and Other Poems, was published by After Hours Press in 2014.


Read more by Siegfried Mortkowitz in B O D Y:

THE STORY: Siegfried Mortkowitz on Leonard Michaels’ “City Boy”
Poem in the May, 2013, issue
Poem in the September, 2012, issue
THE POEM: Reading Frank O’Hara’s “The Day Lady Died”