September 03, 2008

A Minor Riot at the Mint

                         Custome is the most certain Mistresse of
                         language, as the publicke stampe makes
                         current money. But we must not be too
                         frequent with the mint, every day coyning.

                                                  Ben Jonson

Into my pocket slips a folded note, creased
like labia, cached with private promise.
Pea blossoms in broth. And my in petto
pleasure in thinking the missive
for me, the edges keen against
my thumb, my plotting to be alone and open it.
Is it tame as a Hepplewhite chair
or nubile as a pitchfork?

The ship rolls through open water,
dirty in the bay around Rio.
I'm a crazy sailor on the gravy boat,
a woman of means. This letter's mine only
till St. Geoffrey's Day, and if
the paper degrades, that's how it goes
with money. I'll wave the wealth
where any frigate bird can snatch it.

O my mackintosh,
my bilbo, my cistern, my confiture,

I love you so much you breathe me away.

—Natasha SajÚ
from Bend (Tupelo Press, 2004)

Posted by dwaber at September 3, 2008 01:17 PM