Assisted Living

Orpheus now in a retirement home
intones a bitter threnody over his soup:
You call this BROTH?
it’s just a lot of bullion
that sat in the can too long!
Can’t the kitchen people even make
a proper BASE?

His cultured baritone crackles
in high-pitched mimesis of shock.

The other diners brighten for half a moment
before returning to their own murky enigmas
& the three old women at his table
whose ageless brows know when to furrow
follow his long & delicate fingers
with almost proprietary satisfaction
as he struggles to open a package of saltines.


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