from Cornucopia of Arcadia
You gave a talk. I asked if you'd send me
The pdf. Print! I punched, ran into
You in the hall, my copy held aloft.
I did not make the mistake of thinking
Committedly that the portrait you used
On your cover page was of Sir Isaac;
Promptly I was sorry I had blurted
"Newton?" "No, no," you corrected, "Leibniz."
I looked up Newton's face later. Thinner,
Much. Nor were his eyes anything like as
Pleasant-looking as those of your Gottfried
Wilhelm Leibniz. "And anyway," you said,
"Doesn't matter who it is. Is there for
Wig." Wig. The wig. The wig? I must have looked. . . .
Bewildered, me. Why would Leibniz's wig
Be pertinent to your paper? You saw
The need to explicate: "Conference is on
Baroque." Ah. Wig. I said, "Ah. To depict
Coils." You said, "That's right. Curls." You'd misheard me,
Slightly. Trying not to be an inch or
Three taller than you, I leaned back against
The corridor wall. It made no difference:
Coils versus Curls. Both par for the Baroque.
Weeks, allegro. Yet another stilted
Reception, crowd buzz, insignificant
Blah blah blah . . . but you let me know something
Important: ". . . yeah, they use ton of adjuncts
Yadda yadda my girlfriend lives there. Yeah. . . ."
International Luminary, you.
Theory, philosophy, quantum physics.
Actual genius, actual friendships
With real cognoscenti. Music. Painting.
Mont Blanc! you'd scaled it, studied it at least,
Knew British Romantics, and how to ski
(Hurt knee aside). Postmodernism (that
One also—yep, I snooped—the field of your
Brilliant girlfriend in New York). My moment
Came, however. I simply dropped the mask:
"I've read so little." You said, "That's all right."
Eyes drawn to eyes. I took you at your word,
Was able to retain my familiars:
Milkweed, mud, extra butterfly monarchs.