A man could sing, in a burgundy robe
with a gold belt tied in a square knot.
Someone could unite the knot.
A woman could toss a gold coin.
A stranger could say the next line,
I have been waiting for this,"
and offer a basket piled with apples
picked this morning, before the rain.
It could rain in this poem,
but if it rained, the man would continue
to sing as the burgundy silk fell
to the polishe parquet floor.
It could snow in this poem:
remember how the hunter stamped his feet
before he leaned his gun in the corner
and hung his cap on the brass hook?
Perhaps the woman should open the ebony bench
and find the song her mother used to sing.
Listen: the woman is playing the song.
The man is singing the words.
Meanwhile the hunter is taking a warm bath
in the clean white tub with clawed legs.
Or has the hunter left? Are his boots
making tracks in the fallen snow?
When does the woman straighten the flowers?
Is that before the hunter observes
the tiny pattern on the vase?
Before the man begins to peel the shallots?
Now is the time for the woman
to slice the apples into a blue bowl.
A child could be watching the unbroken peel
spiral below the knife.
Last but not least, you could appear.
You could be the red-cheeked child,
the hunter, or the stranger.
You could stay for a late meal.
A Provencal recipe.
A bright red hare, shot at dawn.
Shallots. Brandy. Pepper, salt.
An apple in the pan.
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