was in the air
I could feel it coming in the air.

I was speaking to a gathering
of Italian Professors, grammarians,
philologists, beautiful people
who read Eugenio Montale for breakfast.

They could knock subjunctives around
all day like Gary Sobers.
They wore bow-ties and perfect trousers.
In fact, the things they couldn’t do
with a cuttlefish, the things they couldn’t do!

I wanted a subjunctive in my mouth
so I opened it like a little bird
urging mother to drop one in –