Say it is a geranium in a black pot
or a warbler on the shoulder
that make the difference in how we do
what we do when we do it.
As if the clouds never existed,
as if rain hadn’t come.
Your fur-lined chemise seems as natural
as an avocado without a pit,
yet you persist in wearing it,
despite the heat.
I peel off the yellow cigar band,
attempt deftness, though it does not
come naturally to my right hand.
These are the basic facts of everydayness:
Nothing will ever be like something.
Pumpkins will never fall from any tree.
And the sun stays aloft, at least for now,
and the moon is far far away.
Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno teaches in the Writing and Humanistics Studies Program at MIT. His books include An Invisible Spectator: A Biography of Paul Bowles and The Coninual Pilgrimage: American Writers in Paris, 1944–1960. (1998)