In the idiom of the table,
the deep structure of the plates
supports the substantives as food.
Sentences are parsed with knife and fork,
the phonemes chewed and reissued
as the metaphor of the conversation
rises in a rich aroma to the glaze of the chandelier.

There is a Southern inflection to the beans and fatback;
potatoes drip with rich Saxon butter;
one detects Gallic roots in the onion soup.
Dessert arrives as an independent clause.

The idiot at table, with his polysyllabic bib of drool,
feasts himself rudely on the same asyntactic stew.
But, o, the richness of the cloth!
and o, the clinking of the wine glasses
like tiny silver bells!

June 16, 1987

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