Veckans dikt 137: ”Man at His Bath” av Natalie Shapero

Six years ago, the big museum sold eight famous paintings
to purchase, for unspecified millions,
Gustave Caillebotte’s Man at His Bath.
Now it’s hip to have a print of it,
and whenever I see one hung for decoration,
I’m almost certain that this is what Caillebotte
had in mind when he broke out the oils
in 1884: some twenty-first-century bitch in Boston
catching a glimpse of a framed reproduction,
recollecting a study about how washing oneself may induce
a sense of culpability. What I remember

is he insisted I clean before leaving. That, and he was
trying to be dreamlike. He took my jaw in his hand
and the clamp in his voice made me almost
certain he knew something I did not. Now I eat right,
train hard, get my shots. This life—I’m angling
to remain in this life as long as I can, being almost
certain, as I am, what’s after—

© Natalie Shapero 2021

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Many thanks to Natalie Shapero for letting us run this poem as Veckans dikt (Poem of the Week). It’s from Shapero’s third and most recent collection, Popular Longing, described by the publisher Copper Canyon Press thus: ”The poems of Natalie Shapero’s third collection, Popular Longing, highlight the ever-increasing absurdity of our contemporary life. With her sharp, sardonic wit, Shapero deftly captures human meekness in all its forms: our senseless wars, our inflated egos, our constant deference to presumed higher powers […]”

Read the rave review of the book in London Review of Books. Read an interview in ZYZZYVA. And don’t miss Shapero’s Popular Longing-playlistAnd, finally, you find her homepage here.

Ola Wihlke

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