The Poets Laureate Talk Over Dinner by Gretchen Hill

with apologies to Robert Hass and Louise Glück
No one writes poetry 
while they are the Poet Laureate 
of the United States, 
Charles Simic observes
Because who has the time? 
Writing a letter 
to the 95-year-old 
Poet Laureate of Arkansas 
can take an entire afternoon.
You do it by hand. 
You give yourself over to it, 
as you should, 
sharing your thoughts:
Green pepper slices 
on a white dish of bone.
The rainy streaming of grief.
That kind of thing. 
A sort of poetry 
but not an actual poem.
It’s a government conspiracy, 
Billy Collins says, 
taking a sip of his wine. 
A conspiracy to stop us 
from writing more poems.
That’s the trouble with poetry, 
he adds, 
and orders coffee 
with dessert:
a smoky tiramisu 
which we reverently agree 
is also a sort of poetry 
if not an actual religion.

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