“Breakfast,” by: Léon Francois Comerre (born 1850, died 1916), Oil on canvas, 48” x 28”
There is a woman who continually offers me breakfast as I type at my desk. She always hangs behind my chair, oblivious to my working status. She is confident that I have just finished a long slumber and am now in need of some gastronomical vivification. The expression of her face is set into a gentle greeting, as if she knows she is the first person I have seen today, and also that my hair is still snarled by the bed raggles. She is glad to see me in my most unrefined state once again. That’s my loyal servant!
I usually pay brief attention to my servant, but today two sisters asked me to write them a poem with her in it. The sisters, Jill and Judy, gave me these other facts to work off of: they both grew up in Peoria, Illinois, one now lives in Milwaukee and one currently lives in Portland (“Oregon, not Maine!”), both are staying at the hotel because the Portland based sister came to Milwaukee to attend the first birthday party of her granddaughter. Jill and Judy saw me just as they were coming back from a walk along the lake. They claim the status of being “exercise fanatics.” Additionally, they wanted to know why my servant wears a gold headdress that appears to be from somewhere in Asia and is, as my mother would tell me, “awfully fancy for breakfast time.”
The rest of this blog post is a digital transcription of what I spontaneously typed for Jill and Judy:
Here, eat your breakfast!
A quart of sugared buttermilk
served in a silver pitcher
that tinges the thick nectar within
with the substance of metallic
responsibility to the day rising:
one in which 73,482,551,232,473 strides
will be stridden besides your sister
hip-to-hip see-sawing in time to the waves
that know Portland, Portland and Milwaukee well
enough to know you’ll need this roll
and empty cup of coffee for strength.
There’s just one roll here though, so half it
and half this smile from the French
woman in orientalist headdress.
Baubels and rectangles of gold
parting the lace of her face
and confusing her time period
of 1900 with that of 2084
when such temple bling
will be all the rage
amongst Peoria’s android
And if you were born a year ago today, you may just live to see this fashion.