When you opened the door
I stood back
to absorb the aroma of sandalwood
the full glow of the Tiffany lamp
over the grand piano
the Fortuny-upholstered chair
and then invited in
to give you the thing I brought from China.
A thousand years ago the emperor's son
opened the cricket box
to insert the hinged
I thought my gift exotic, now obscene
as the connoisseurs who shackled apes
beneath the table to taste the
brain, alive and warm.
The cricket box was a conspiracy.
The potter drilled
those perfect breathing vents
into clay but I
bought this gift
for you. I thought you would take me
out into your dazzling sandblasted
city, introduce me to friends. Even
show my poems around.
You said, "I want to keep you
You offered me the finest:
Stolichnaya, Sevruga Caviar.
One you said, "Would you like
sex?" You opened the Encyclopedia
Brittanica, eleventh edition,
and showed me how the parts