by Joseph Helminski

Love you, too, is in part the duty
of chicken salad and careful recycling.
Pretend the headlines are just a vapor
and we can linger at the hearth.
Inked forms don’t stand,
but in the tea-sky of sympathy,
an ideal waits to insult in dialogue.
Never mind that, then.

Centuries ago, to condescend
was like taking off a wig
before talking to your coachman.
It’s much the same here, but with roles
reversing now and again, eluding
all but the finest intuitive violins,
the smallest ones, playing between ironic
fingers just for you.