To Odette Bost
Into the houses where children die
Go some very old people.
They sit down in the antechamber
Their sticks between their black knees.
They listen, nod their heads.
Every time the child coughs
Their hands clutch their hearts
And make big yellow spiders
And the cough, rising through the furnishings,
Is shredded, listless as a pale butterfly.
They have vague smiles
And the child’s cough stops
And the big yellow spiders
On the polished boxwood handles
Of the sticks, between their hard knees.
And then, when the child is dead
They get up, and go elsewhere…
There is a way a room full of people drinking cocktails feels. It is distinct from the stale fog that spills from a fridge packed with six packs, and it is altogether different from the rosy-cheeked stupor induced by a case of wine. There is a severe and attentive atmosphere to the room. The alchemy of balancing sweetness, bitterness, and bite in a few ounces is mysterious and tempting. There is a self-awareness that comes with drinking an old fashioned, an edge to the precarious glass that a Manhattan arrives in. There is also enormous satisfaction in drinking a good one. The pleasure doesn’t last long—the drinks are always short and expensive. READ MORE…