Radka Thea Otípková
Though her first language is Czech, Radka Thea Otípková fell in love with English as a young adult. Her poetry has been featured in B O D Y, The North, Moria and Tears in the Fence. In 2017, her pamphlet The Edge of Anything was shortlisted in the Poetry Business International Book and Pamphlet Competition. Her poem Coup de grâce was shortlisted in the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition that same year. Thea won the Waltham Forest Poetry Competition in 2019, and has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize and the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem.
Tut’s Tomb Talks
I am waiting for you. Part of my wall
will need to go to get you in. It will
never heal, this is how they'll find me,
small, perfunctory, unfit for a king, but
I'll hold it all: chariots, thrones, trumpets,
perfumes, precious oils, lapis and gold,
and apricots, oh, apricots, I'll often
imagine them perishing in the dark long after
they have gone, I'll recall the odour of lamb
changing in strength, from a mere waft
to a putrid punch – who'd ever think
in cessation there is so much life – no,
no eternity's resins and balms
can stop the bustle of dying in the jars
housing your liver and lungs,
or in the muffled echo of your anatomy's
final sarcophagus. I'll never miss you.
You will never not be with me
and when even the deaths have died
and there's nothing left but desiccated time,
I shall still keep the breathing riddle of you
inside your missing heart.
Trace its veins and swirls.
Speak of impurities. Say
clay, silt, sand. Say chert.
Say guilt. Forgive me.
Send the light unstonily deep,
let it spill onto its ashen
wax. Mramor, marmor,
marmo, marmori, go,
look for it, find it in any
language, any it, any us,
any you, any torpor,
any suspended hope,
close its cold
in your warm,
wet, mortal mouth
and wait for it
Coup de grâce
In the end his body puked him out
as if it were only a stomach
and a mouth. It didn't let him
just slip away.
But maybe it matters less than we think.
Look at his mother. There she is. No longer
tearing at the meat of what remains,
but opening the window.
The night is there.
What can you do but make a simple gesture
that might mean anything. Hand on chest.
Fingertips on lips. Or just stand
however gravity wants you to.
a skin boat.
No prayers are heard.
If you lean out a little, you’ll see it too.
The night. The moon.
The overflowing eye of a fish
Tut's Tomb Talks / Coup de grâce: B O D Y
Marble: Tears in the Fence