Thursday, March 1, 1984

FEAST OR FAMINE

FEAST OR FAMINE
—After William Carlos Williams

This is just to say:
I usually know better than to open a man's
refrigerator no matter how good
the loving was the night before.
The newspaper was still readable—
not that news is important enough to eat—
the salmon on a plastic-keeled raft
had a knowing look as if a fishing rod
had snagged something other than dreams
during the night's repast.
Not that we kept each other
in hunger and health the whole night long.
However, for breakfast, I only eyed the avocado
which you were probably saving for tonight's dip.
Eggs tossed in a frail paper boat
on a heavy cabbage sea, and the mushrooms—
like puckered toes under an incandescent moon,
would have been good in an omlet.
Though my appetite is stirring,
there are always greener pastures farther south.
You see, my mind was on last night's dinner
which stood me up when we fell back into dreams
and the salmon swam freely home—
I'm still famished, no matter how many quarts
of kisses were stored on the shelf
during the famine years.

Cotati, 1984
rev. 4/89
1993 We Are Not Swans, with Cecelia Woloch
1985 Poets of the Vineyard, First Prize (another version)