Litany [after Billy Collins]

By: Trent Bangle

You are the bread and the knife,

the crystal goblet and the wine.

You are the innocent gaze of a lamb,

and the open flame behind the hearth.

You are the crashing of the waves in a storm,

and the laughs of the summertime breezes.

However, you are not the easygoing petal in the wind,

the shadows hiding in the corner,

or the man in the robe standing before the pews.

And you are certainly not the crisp crinkle of a turned page;

There is just no way that you are the crisp crinkle of a turned page.

It is possible that you are the vanilla scent of the English room,

The brave cries of the Peregrin,

But you are not even close

to being the hide of Hercules.

And a quick look in the mirror will show

that you are neither the piano and its keys

nor the closed umbrella reclining in the umbrella stand.

It might interest you to know,

speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,

That I am the inkblot tears on this letter.

I also happen to be the giggles of a newborn,

The arrow that could just barely miss its target,

and the sugarplums in the bowl on the table.

I am also the warmth of the sun hiding behind the canopy,

and the answer to your Magic 8 ball questions.

But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife;

You are the bread and the knife.

You will always be the bread and the knife,

not to mention the crystal goblet and—somehow—the wine.