Prufrock’s Spoons

Prufrock’s Spoons
by Jackie Lea Sommers & T.S. Eliot

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.

And so have I.
Not enough spoons for a week like this one.
Not enough for this month, this year.
This is our unit of measurement,
me,
J. Alfred,
or maybe Eliot himself,
the tired ones everywhere
who use the word chronic to describe
something unseen.

Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
See the muscles spasm
along both sides of the spine.
Feel the sweat drip
down the neck of a body that can’t cool.
The girl in the bed
can’t move
or think.
She is like the night.
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table
Yes. Like that.
And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
And throbbing with pain
like a subwoofer
underneath the pale, freckled skin.
Shall I part my hair behind?   Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
Those were days of endless spoons.
I could throw them from me like candy in a parade.
I was younger and in love with
everything.
Now I watch
for any glint of metal,
any strobe of silver,
for my collection of spoons,
the currency of this girl
underwater.
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
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