The masks on the wall remember everything:
how the tube of cortisone bobbed on the ocean,
and skidded off the back of a tortoise,
how the water in the Mexican, blue glass pitcher
beat to the same tempo as the table, and the table legs
were in touch with other table legs, deep in the earth.
And then there was the night of unsigned checks
flying through the air, settling on coffins
waiting to be buried. The next morning chocolate mints
arrived from the Andes. No one knew who sent them
but they were devoured eagerly. Even the dog
took mints to the ferret under the porch.
The author of the book on the table smiled.
He had posed for the picture and the book was published
with blank pages. Even now, the author
tried to look intelligent, thoughtful, kind, deep,
yet approachable—and though no longer young,
slightly dangerous to attractive women. He smiled
and kept smiling, for this was the moment the book
received its title, the moment the reader, O pale apothecary,
turned the pages with a wet finger, and the pages of the book,
all by themselves, were filling up with words.