Now the silverfish have eaten your sad dictionary.
Once you stood behind the counter,
ribbons in your hair, you measured and cut yardage
for the buxom ladies. And now a pile of Kleenex
rises by your elbow as you cope with your rhinitis.
You have become the remnants bin, hair lank
and thinning, nails blue with cyanosis.
It baffles you, doesn’t it? —how in the junkyard
of the heart, those hours, those days, still shine—
the week in the little fishing village, tables
on the sand, the anchovies and gardenias.
All gone, all gone. And now the mottled leaves.
But I tell you, you’re no minimum.
You’re peaches so tender they bruise
where they touch the sassafras bowl.
You’re silver-olive lichen on the willow oak tree,
moss between the bricks. Sweet ripening figs,
small turtle hiding in the grass, green field
and green ephemera. All these things are you.
And the chip and weave of birdsong after rain.