Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Randall Mann

PURE

PURE

PURE

Purgatory must be like this,
myopic, wet, all noise white,
the ocean inexhaustible.

The old woman to our right
could have been a saint, clothed
in layers and layers of white.

And the terns, they strutted
then scattered when a sopping dog
ran in, then out, of the thick fog.

I was grateful you had pulled
me away from my dull schedule
for that walk, though I,

selfish to the end,
could not bring myself to say so.
I’ll say it now, too late:

purgatory will be like this:
the nothingness behind us,
the nothingness ahead;

you and I, arm in arm—
two men holding each other.
Close

PURE

Purgatory must be like this,
myopic, wet, all noise white,
the ocean inexhaustible.

The old woman to our right
could have been a saint, clothed
in layers and layers of white.

And the terns, they strutted
then scattered when a sopping dog
ran in, then out, of the thick fog.

I was grateful you had pulled
me away from my dull schedule
for that walk, though I,

selfish to the end,
could not bring myself to say so.
I’ll say it now, too late:

purgatory will be like this:
the nothingness behind us,
the nothingness ahead;

you and I, arm in arm—
two men holding each other.

PURE

Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère