Did you not know it was me,
when you knelt down to pick up
your glove, that it was me
in the bristly touch of the carpet?
I’d had a suit made up in its pattern
by finicky Persians, and then
I lay there for sixteen days wishing
you’d walk on me, hoping and praying
you’d lean down and touch me.
And then later, that knot in the wood
on the kitchen counter
when you were chopping the basil
and anchovies and capers
for the salsa verde, that knot
that looked just a little like my face –
it was my face, my darling!
That was me dressed up as a plank.
I watched you look down at me,
your nose almost touched me,
I feared you’d hear the sap as it rose
so hotly beneath my woody veneer,
but your husband with his
bumpkin instinct intuited danger
and he called you away.
And then that me-like scent
you noticed in your drawing room,
well that was me too,
disguised as the harpsichord,
surely you knew! Surely you noticed
me stifle a sneeze when you tickled
my ivories so nicely, you maestro,
you impossible tease!
And when you sat by the river
to eat your Viennese pastry, that river
whose name you don’t know –
well its name is my name, my angel!
It was me flowed helplessly past you! Me,
all riddled with quick little fish and the big
ones who swallow them whole. And the
coconut shy at the fair, surely you knew
it was… Ouch, that hurt! And then the
following week at the funeral, the pale
wood coffin, you must have sensed it was
me from how well I wore it, and the smoke
that then rose from the dispiriting
chimney, that furious plume whose
thickening billows so startled the birds
who know nothing of all our madness.