After “Life”

Fall, 2022 / No. 50

I read a poem by A.C. 

in The New Yorker. 

It has to be good, it’s published 

in The New Yorker, I love The New Yorker. 

                                       —What’s more 

emblematic of having arrived? 

I’ll read anything 

penned by the great A.C. 

Her quirk, 

her style—the way she pulls off beige 

on beige, red

shoes to boot. 

Once at a reading, I spoke up and told her 

her lines remind me of Iceland’s

Halldór Laxness. 

“His work is sad, 

so sad,” she said, by way of oblique reply. Like 

putting an ice cube in my wine, 

under a henna 

party tent. With humidex, the temperature

was over 40 C. 

             Father of the groom, nice man, 

was sweating like a fish. “At least it didn’t 

rain today,” I bantered. “Best henna 

since my son married 

the sister of the bride-to-be.” 

He smiled and what came next: the great procession, 


Bride-to-be borne forth in crown and caftan in a palanquin—

splashy as a bath bomb. 

How not 

to want to be seen 

as someone or something we’re not.

                                       Why not simply admit.

I love the word “Calvados,” 

have loved it since I read it 

in Arch of Triumph by Erich Remarque—repeated 

like a mantra throughout the book.   

Calvados. Brandy 

from apples: as typical as any fruit,  

but what a plum

as emblem 

                 of having arrived—