William Klefkorn

At the Pantry

From Swallowing the Soap: New and Selected Poems by William Kloefkorn Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2010.

FOR JAY GERBER

Because I am sitting
in the midst of wordsong and baconsmell
how can my cup not runneth over?

To keep it brimful the woman
whose face is mostly widesmile
tips a vessel, its contents hot and black
and overflowing.

I order what my colleague orders,
biscuits and gravy enough
to please if not overawe
the village mortician.

Through the window I can see that
in a farflung world
treelimbs are bending. Each time I inhale
I inhale deeply.

Thanks to Brother Parkinson
my colleague’s right hand cannot stop
waving. Hello, whoever you are. Hello,
whoever.

His voice is soft and steady
and reassuring. No, life is not
yet a treadmill to oblivion. It is instead
biscuits and gravy and wordsong

and baconsmell, goodness and mercy
between us in the guise
of time neverending counting down.

Reproduced from Swallowing the Soap: New and Selected Poems by William Kloefkorn, edited and with an introduction by Ted Genoways, by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. Copyright 2010 by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska.