brief as indrawn breath
cottonwhite clouds mist away
This poem will cost you.
It will not register Black voters in Georgia.
It will not wash oil from ducks.
This poem will starve the big-bellied babies
in Angola, if they send it.
It . . will . . not . . get . . off . . the . . page
to convince the President
that loaded guns are dangerous
and should be kept out of the hands
of infants and senile demagogues.
This poem will not feel around under your dress
down by the lake. It will not be generous
with its time, nor forgive. It can’t be
warmed up at midnight after the skating
nor charm the miser out of his hole
nor proclaim amnesty. It’s words,
God damn it, it’s words.