By James Tate

I wish the stone lady would come to me.
Parakeet or no parakeet
the night is a vial of lighterfluid.
And I have been good, composing the perishable song
of my childhood: one dollar, one frond
meekly but loyally exploding the oath of circles.
I have been the best wound a diamond ever knew.

But what can I do for you? Write an encyclopedia
to which the least gnat could gain entrance?
I love you and I do not love you, perambulating utensils,
street names. An old man is giving mirrors
to a young girl. The meek have inherited the flypaper.
The past is more present than this moment.
I am drinking at a spring, my skin
is red and white. A little burning sensation,
a little joy I leave forever.

Oh well, I keep singing: I sing the song
of utensils, and there is one of street names,
and one of the names of dead pets.
The next day I am giving mirrors to a young girl.
I give free shoes for life to a stone lady.
She walks on air, she walks near the earth
in a region called the cryptosphere.

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