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Are You Not Glad?

Jennifer Michael Hecht

Now that you have left
your black-hearted arrow-smith,
left his quiver,
now that you have at long last purchased him
a soft drink and punched him in the eye.

Now you are sane enough to stand my trials.
My dangerous vials. Knock.
Who’s there?
Poison berries.
Poison berries who?
Knock-knock. Who’s there?
Poison berries. Poison berries who?
Knock-knock, who’s there? Orange.
Orange who?
Orange you glad I didn’t say poison berries?

Orange you glad? No, I’m not. I ate the berries.
I was hungry; I was young.

Thrilled, yes, to have slept through the night,
got through the last wave. Slipped through my fingers.
See how my veins cling? But not much rocked
by the late arrival of oranges.

Dangerous you, dangerous me. Surprises behind
every door, and all of them the same. Wretched
and fed on sun-ripened fruit. Spoiled for feasts
by famine, so much wanting when it counted.

Jennifer Michael Hecht

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