The soil here is lusty and there are mulberry trees
capable of sustaining silkworms. I take my victuals
indoors at noon and am met with curiosity.
I think not on the cascading disasters that leave me
a new calling daily: mapmaker, drill master, interpreter,
naturalist. Lately I have added governor.
When I need words like bumptious and sangfroid
I must make them into things. Seed, wing, star, pit
seem to do the trick. I trust they do not find me bumptious,
which is to say too winged in the pit department.
Darling, I pray that you will not find me
bumptious when (for this I also pray) we meet again.
How will you love me if when you ask where?
I answer three birds to the breeze. Sangfroid
was a tough one. I finally managed by pouring
its essence into tumblers. Now they expect it
daily: Sangfo, we holler, and leap about.
I only hope you will love my leaping
and let me keep the hat I wear to bed along with
my linguistic mishmash (STAR B Word BIRD
is what I go by now). You can be governor,
Schatz. I will drink your bitter tea and like it
a civilized amount. But understand
what 8 jobs does to a man. How can I know
my tongue from a drill, a soup bowl from
a shallow swamp? Worst is the dream wherein
a silkworm plays pinochle in my skull,
gently spinning the contents into one large
candy fluff. Darling, the people here are lusty,
and I fear the soil capable of sustaining me.
Note: This poem borrows language from Edmund S. and Marie Morgan’s “Our Shaky Beginnings” in The New York Review of Books, Vol. LIV, No. 7 (April 26, 2007).
Sarah Wolfson received an MFA from the University of Michigan. Her poems have appeared recently in The Concher, AGNI, and Salt Hill. She is originally from Vermont but currently lives and teaches in Dresden, Germany. (5/2008)