One April, 1988

What was it?
Something became lodged in the machine.
That was it. Which inflection could not cure.
A tenuous hold much worse
Than no hold at all.
Who braved that consignment
And who braved that fall
Learned in the solitude
Of a white sickroom —
What choice had they
But not to resist?
You love that texture of a sheet
And you will pay for it.
So sweet, so sweet, he said,
Then, don’t stop.
No stop for it.
A carnival.