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"SUMPTUOUS DESTITUTION"
# — for L.T.

A woman across the table from me
regards my poem and her hot dog
with equal relish. "De trop," she mutters.
"Garnish." I think at first she's addressing

the pathos of parsley on french fries, but no,
she is shearing, with number two lead,
my adverbs and adjectives, urging a world
without modification. "Nouns. Verbs.
They do the work. Eschew adornment."

Bereft of my "vaulted dark,"
I stammer my case for elegance,
fullness of term, plead for "intricate leafiness."

Part of me accuses her
of stealing my pretty adjectives, hoarding
the round-vowelled jobs beneath her dress,
eating all the sad ones. And someday,

turned profligate, she'll spend them
in a poem of, oh, such luxury —
the adjectives lolling upon the lines
with the indolent hubris of pumpkins.



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