“I want words meat-hooked from the living steer”
—Robert Lowell

Recumbent on the king bed where you gaffed
mixed figures—literary lion (or sphinx)
as odalisque!—you handed me a draft
of your new poem, on Circe and Ulysses
(her avatar was downstairs mixing drinks),
and fixed me with your understanding glare,
a curious big cat’s, mane of gray hair
a wild halo framing the black-rimmed glasses

you’ll wear in the New York taxi, dubious
to be sure but thinking perhaps to close,
by any bloody hook or crook, your hero’s
circle (taxi: task and tax, done and paid),
thinking to lie down in the bed you’d made,
thinking no man is Odysseus.