My dignity drinks with me
a cup of coffee, with sugar and milk,
in a bathrobe.
My dignity, this day,
neither adds to nor subtracts from
the dignity of any other.
My dignity, this one day,
closes its ledger.
Its luxury, this day, is coffee, sugar, and milk.
Is having enough to want nothing.
Soon my dignity,
in clothes no one will judge for their wrinkles, in skin no one will judge for its fit.
My dignity, I know,
could be taken from me easily,
invisibly, in a single pickpocketed instant.
An errant driver. An errant rock. An errant anger.
My own heart could take it—
one moment, drinking coffee,
My own breast or marrow could take it.
But my dignity and I do not apologize
to one another,
nor, this day, profess to more than we can.
I know I will someday say to my dignity:
It’s all right, I know it is time,
leave if you must, live elsewhere.
Take with you, like a good sous-chef,
your towel-wrapped knife and whetstone,
your luck-bringing ladle.