Awkwardly I shove my head up through
stiff fabric, embroidered
with ragged stitchery. What to do
with all this? It settles on my shoulders,
and I start to sweat: little beetle feet tick
above my ears; step knickingly
across the hairline behind.
One must I suppose dress for occasions.
But poetry is the worst cocktail dress
I have found yet. “This little thing?”
I worked on it for years in secret,
and it looks dreadful on me.
some other kind of writer, some other place.
Something more in the Hemingway line?
Flinching is what I do and how I do it.
If I have a gift, it's flinchery.
Still the corners of my mouth
begin to move; the laughter starts;
the eyes open wider and the light
begins to wash across my lap.
This is what they came for.
They want something else,
they can ask.