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The Scottish Caf

by Susanna H. Case

2002, 40 pages

Winner of the 2002 Sapering Hol Press Chapbook Competition.


Orlicz is a regular at the Scottish Café
his apartment in Lvov is really small
and even his Orlicz spaces
do not leave him enough room at home
which his wife has filled with dozens
of needlepoint pillows
so he creates function spaces at the Café
full of his favorite—cheese paska
from which he picks out the raisins
which irritate him
and uses them to assemble
the fourteen problems he contributes
to the Scottish Book

his teacher Steinhaus is not yet in trouble
not yet hiding from the Germans
who are not yet on their way to Stalingrad
his teacher Banach is not yet arrested
for trafficking in German currency
none of it true
the mathematics is not yet diminishing
more than twenty-five mathematicians
in Poland not yet dead

which leaves Orlicz suspended
for a delicious moment in time and space
where the yeast and egg
and farmer's cheese and sugar loaves
still taste exceptionally sweet
carefully covered by the Café cook
to prevent burning

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Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

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Audio Sample:

Listen to "Rasin"

As read by the author, Susanna H. Case


About the Author:

Susanna H. Case
Praise For The Scottish Café

"By recalling with celebratory joy the vigor, the messiness, the courage of life as it was once lived in a terrible time by the mathematician at the Scottish Café in Lvov, these poems do us a very great service."

     —Charles Martin

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