He slouches in the chair across
from mine, and ten packets
of brown sugar empty themselves
like so much life-sand dissolving
itself away into his cup. I ask is that
not too much sweetness for your taste?
Or, to turn the question on its side
and show you a different face—
why are we here? What’s it all about?
He answers no, sweetness, all I taste
is still black, but I like the light here.
It reminds me of butter. See how
everything appears lit by candles
that think they have all the world’s time,
and burn as softly as they please.
I could sit here all day fiddling
with the pages of a sketchbook—
to draw someone is a different means
of harvesting, when you conjecture
a story onto their image rather than
pinch a soul between your fingers
and pull it resisting from its vessel.
I would be that sort of man for you,
the kind who looks good in cardigans
and never gets enough sleep.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we were real
and neither of us had somewhere
else to be? You are all the warmth
in a room. You are all sweetness needed
by an anthropomorphic concept
without the gift of senses. I wish
you were not imagining me.
Day 29: Write a poem that incorporates all of Jim Slimmerman’s “20 Little Poetry Projects.”
Filing this constraint away for when I have more time and energy; in the meantime I continue making small talk with Death.