A little room devoted to the purpose.
Couch green and gold, like Keats’s cot in Rome.
Thick curtains drawn. Door barred. Do not disturb us:
we are not at home.
I shoot my cuffs, remove the studs of pearl,
place tie pin, collar stiffeners, signet ring
in notches of a baize-lined case, set fob
and watch down tenderly, let down the spring,
undo my tie, suppress a minor sob,
shed my suit piece by piece, sort, fold, and furl,
and lay the neat stack on a nearby chair.
Shake out my pocket square.
Place it in easy reach. (She used to fold the silk
into a dove, complete with tiny beak.)
Adjust a violet nodding on its stalk.
I am standing in one sock…
Now I am facedown, laid out on the cot
as if sewn into it. I clutch it like a child
I once saw riding a dog around a field.
I shake it, but the best antiques don’t break…
some kind of joke some kind of sick mistake
she’s gone she’s gone she’s gone she’s gone she’s not
here not with me somewhere with him right now
fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck
fuck let it not be true let him be struck
dead let my suffering summon her somehow
you mean the way her suffering summoned you
all right all right but but but but but what
my throbbing head my ribs my sobs my snot
my nakedness this shaking cot they’ll pass
they’ll pass this ugly room will pass you too
you stupid ass. You ass. You ass. You ass.
Wobbling a little, Mr. Garamond stands.
I step back into him. Put pants on. Tuck
tails into waistband, wind my pendant watch,
retie my tie, relink my cufflinks, pluck
each collar stiffener from its plush green notch,
slide each in place, reproach my shaking hands,
make of my sob-soaked, snot-soaked pocket square
a goddamned peacock, and walk out of there.