After a blinding day of birds calling
whose names I will never know,
and trees dropping noisome
sap in the curdling street --
a night less oppressive.
I wish for a cauldron
to cook all the fat out of me,
to leave me slender, interesting, pale:
to render me into a storybook likely lad.
genial, jolly, kindly, sexless, droll:
red faced, puffy and plump.
Still under my red velvet and white fur trim
there are odd ferocities and hungers.
Don't cross me too often or too much,
or you may see an old darkness
come into my eyes. I may not be dangerous
but I am not quite safe.
At night I take my lumps of coal
and fling them one by one at streetlights,
hitting aluminum crossbars
with a high and chilling ping,
the frosted glass
with a muffled chink. Wicked boys
and girls, here's what you get tonight,
here's your real reward: old fingers
smeared with soot, and a tongue
black with licking.