about the man at the Metropolitan Museum cafeteria / who told the pleasant cashier / my wife died seven years ago. Now I'm / out a lot to keep from killing myself / then simpered with apology: / oh don't worry! I don't have the nerve,

while I fed my little girl and asked / Do you have a poo? and Do you have to poo? / and she sang noooooo. I am have cleeeeaaaan diaper / because she sings everything. I encouraged her / to eat a few bites of salad and she ate a few bites of salad, / and my chest burst with joy at the high quality / of my progeny, though she later threw her bedclothes / to the floor and jumped on her mattress three times / instead of napping. My anger blazed until I roughly / plunked her prone frame onto the bed and lifted her legs / smacking her bottom and quickly was ashamed / and returned to wipe her tears, to apologize / for smacking her bottom. She kissed my cheek, / singing daddy is angry daddy is not angry

anymore and the cafeteria man, in my mind, lonely / as I am lonely beyond imagination, / his confessions cheery with the geniality / of demotic exchange, the most difficult / and personal pain outwelling even into lunch / trays and credit card swipes, the paintings / the statues the scrolls the photos after that / all washed-out, all flat so I put my daughter / back in her stroller to play peek-a-boo / with strangers on the subway which rocked / side to side, side to side.