Unanswered Questions from Dinner with a Poet
“What are you thinking about now?” he asked,
across the table,
over the empty plates,
into the silence of an unfinished conversation.
“Is it normal to be terrified?” I want to say.
And when will writing not feel
like assembling a jigsaw puzzle
where all the pieces are gray,
or like being in a country
where my currency is defunct.
But I swallowed my words with a sip
of good Chilean red,
and all I remember now are these two things:
With tired eyes and a precise, compassionate voice,
he looked at me and said,
“Fear is a useful diagnostic tool.”
And then, when we got up from the table,
he took my wine glass, not quite empty,
put it to his lips,
and drank it.