Poem of a Poet I Admire

Lupercalia, Poetry

(after the death of Wislawa Szymborska, February 1, 2012)

I take the petit four

of your poem and put

it in my mouth;

let my tongue soak it up—

soft words



as a

spring weekend

—inhale the sugar flower.

The decadent scrim

of icing glosses over


“The sun rises and the sun

sets and I eat

this cake and you are

no longer in this world.

A violet grows on the verge

of a yard and a street;


crystallizes in another poet’s

greedy panting

despite your vacant house,

your supercilious cat

and your mouth that

will never eat cake again.

I am eating

cake and I am not

efficient. Pieces of your

poem clot against my teeth

and I cannot speak.

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