Three Poems from Quiet Companies

Dans la bouche (In the Mouth)

…..Moving from an empty day into an empty room, whether
I pull his sleeve
…..Or the elastic band, fear no.
…..Ankles warm already, wrists soon, nape especially.

…..Near the wall
…..I hold my hand toward the bar
…..Hard with this heat that announces me.
…..Us rubbing the floor now
…..Chin angled, no need to speak.

…..Nothing to say, it’s sorrow that must go.
…..Us physical
…..Again and again we ensure that it exists

…..Head! Head under the leveraged inflection of the arm
…..Curve skyward
…..You shift this reflection on your cheek
…..Me behind I spread it the same

…..Faces the sentence won’t forget.

…..The hand back on the bar
…..Infinity’s thing–
…..One hopes even for sweat
…..Of the bottom the edge.

…..A body seated presses the piano. The blood broader.
…..Dancing with it fills its veins.

…..You squeeze and lift me off the ground
…..My strength, exactly the fruit
…..Of my head inverted
………………And feet vertical
…..No stem needed for support.

…..–Able to make walls blink
…..Folded on your thigh or bending under your fingers, we
exit the tapestry. Grimaces unravel each other, seeing us fall,
or learn to fall like other gestures. To rise again, precipice
not lost.

…..We always can and will
…..In the mouth of music.

LE BEL HOMMAGE (The Splendid Homage)

…..She comes forward without him stepping back.
…..Not possible either to push back the walls of the small
bedroom, or the bushes of a live path.

…..He turns his head to feel a woman against his cheek.
…..This feeling that the heart takes action.

…..Searching nothing, doing, without seeking
…..To move from one minute to the other.
…..Doesn’t even come up to their knees.

…..Most weakened fear, transparent heft of a sole kiss.

…..On the rock sitting, on the window ledge, she is a
discovered treasure that he won’t move anymore. Or move
on her own.

…..Feeling it.
…..It leaves its tower, then the lips equally wet shake it. The
inhabited floors, lines of a trail
…..The tongue goes down.

…..On her knees, chin wiped into the palm.

…..That’s all.

…..In one move eyes open
…..She bares her breasts
…..In front of the dark

Leur brouillard de bonheur (Their fog of happiness)

…..Sometimes you have something that doesn’t belong.
…..This piece of wood, I leaned, I drop it, and it doesn’t fall
towards me. Let’s say there is some breathing here.

…..These two
…..Don’t need my hand
…..The urges hot enough

…..All the trees
…..Serve as the rhythm
…..Closer to show my legs, the split into two, of their

…..Who doesn’t belong?

…..I pick up the stick that hasn’t disappeared.
…..Not covered in leaves either. Something else right here.

…..I lost the man and I lost the woman
…..The eyes moist sometimes.

…..The dancers put on their in-love bodies
…..I set up spectator
…..I become a peel.

…..A wrist in full light
…..Stroked at the bend, while the invisible takes hold of its
…..I see like I swallow burning water
…..With body inside it
…..I see like I swallow

…..He holds her hand erasing it all stepping back,
…..Leaving go.


Ariane Dreyfus

There is no poetry without thought towards the other. Existence is a gift that we make for one another. Write to give the impression that it is said from human to human in a language that is like the everyday, yet is also surprising. To stay awake. Only depend upon the human presence, which is as much voice as skin, as much face as speech, as much words as quiet and gestures. This is what is challenging: to pull--extract--from the language something other than itself only, but by its only means.

Ariane Drefyfus, born in 1958, has published Les miettes de Décembre (Le Dé Bleu, 1997), La durée des plantes (Tarabuste, 1998 and 2007 (revised edition)), Une histoire passera ici (Flammarion, 1999), Quelques branches vivantes and Les compagnies silencieuses (Flammarion, 2001), La belle vitesse (Le Dé Bleu, 2002), La bouche de quelqu'un (Tarabuste, 2003), L'inhabitable (Flammarion, 2006), Iris, c'est votre bleu (Le Castor Astral, 2008), La terre voudrait recommencer (Flammarion, 2010), Nous nous attendons (Le Castor Astral, 2012), and La lampe allumée si souvent dans l'ombre (forthcoming from José Corti, 2013).

Corinne Noirot and Elias Simpson

Corinne Noirot is Assistant Professor of French at Virginia Tech.


Elias Simpson tried to grow up in Iowa, where he now lives after an MFA stint at Vermont. He has poems forthcoming in Cold Mountain Review, Interim, and Painted Bride Quarterly. He's chief of the online art journal Toad.

From Les Compagnies silencieuses. Copyright (c) Flammarion, 2001. English translation copyright (c) Corinne Noirot and Elias Simpson, 2012.