Somehow, Elizabeth Bishop
is always Elizabeth Bishop.
Both names. Properly addressed
like a stranger at a formal party.
Not like Sylvia Plath or Anne Sexton,
who after so many years of reading and
meeting and parting on the Green Line
to Newton and Wellesley are just Sylvia
and Anne (whose grave I visit regularly
like a favorite aunt, whom I like to think
I entertain with dramatic readings of very
modern poetry as we picnic under the trees
with the other long dead). Somehow they
are familiar to me. I know their secret names.
But Elizabeth Bishop does whisper to me
as I take the Red Line over the Charles,
watch the dull lights of the Prudential
Center blink drunkenly at night.
She does not tell me her secrets.
Elizabeth Bishop lays life out before me
on a plate, perfect images crisp for my mouth.
She invites me to taste while somehow
giving little of herself.