Carve away the bitter ends of verbs
like rinds from cheese. The word too hard to speak—
discard without a thought, like that robin
darting the maw of your mother’s black 
Caprice, the squirrel beneath your right wheel’s love
of circular plot. Now penetrate the surface
comprehension—some lovers at the lido
and a blanketful of grammar. And why imply
your doubt with the subjunctive, when you can lie
on the coffin-narrow bunk in that rented flat
where the cat spritzed all your button-downs?
Why not become doubt itself, some faceless
version of you, floundering in the predicate?
Button up. For you can bear the lopping off
of proper conjugations, or watch declensions come
for visits, full of reticence and pocket change,
what little they can spare. The fishmonger might
despise your staring at the hollow eyes
of his branzino, at the unvoiced fricative
of the eel on ice. But luckily you know
the word for eel—anguilla—its dark melt
off the tongue, awful nearness to anguish.
Do you speak English? If so, it is autumn,
and a breeze flutters the leaves of your favorite,
utterable lovelies, ripples the surface
of some aperitivo. How beautiful, how sinful
this country of your ignorance when toured
on a Tuesday, say, devoted to the god of war,
when butchers sheath their knives, and televisions
spill the golden hair of afternoon
reports in waves you cannot grasp, but love
to be awash in, like a surfer in black who crests
a swell and feels the water an extension
of his body, then his mouth, hungering for more,
even when it doesn’t know it’s full.