Caroline Crumpacker, p.1


Imagine that a letter is reeled in,
naked to the waist. Imagine that I am writing you
from a small place slung with glass and coins,
and that you are listening, with the blankness
of a connoisseur. Sir, I mean to ask you
a question or, if you prefer, to thank you.
My thanks dispels a tension, it quells a thirst
and we miss that but nonetheless, the table
has been here longer than we have—
that being its vocation and this being
our first encounter across it. This insignificance
is at least as pretty as our “conversation.”

Meaning everything is too tight but the pages.
Meaning you are theorizing the reader, aren’t you?
The answer is apatropaic, apopletic, priapic.

This is the gendarmerie of a very small thought.
You must remember everything that brought you here
and still be fluent in seven tongues. Yes, it is exhausting.
Yes, you must be both informer and information.
How else can we continue? On the terrace
of an art nouveau? Meaning ill-fitting?
Meaning raising a glass to something encyclopedic?
Calalily of the prefecture, where is that letter now?
Did we decide that it was naïve? Did I write it
or did we share an imagining of feverish
dimension? I thought that was you, you might whisper
or a band might play. The one who hired us
must have been craving melodrama.          I, for one, pity the impulse.