I’m reading about loss and time since there’s
nothing else to think of, much less read about,
what with the light bulb flickering

and the peaches in the can about to explode.
Yet there’s chili in the refrigerator, tires go

round and round, and water wanders in
and out of the bayou, mumbling its favorite word,
voluble. I’m a flashback myself, stretched out

on a brown leatherette sofa.
Happiness is nothing, compared to the intimacy

of loss-it fills everything up, you drown in it.
A Yellow Cab is coming, and my bag
is packed-evening dress, strappy heels, eye drops,

pictures in my purse of the floating continents
and their peoples-everyone ready

to ride and not minding it much, since we’re
the planet’s own products and outpourings,
carrying around our own atmosphere

wherever we go, like nectar or sweat. Don’t forget
to water the prayer plant. Don’t write.

[From Confrontation 122]