Party Game

If you were an animal what animal would you be
He said caribou, something with antlers,
rain-shellacked. You could walk
on your whole foot and that seemed
honest. She said a junco because she had some idea
they mated for life (they don’t). Her hair grew gray
at the roots, like a species of winter vegetable.

The one whose answer mattered to me,
hostage to both the season’s gravity
and a sense of fair measure, didn’t play
party games. If you were an animal
what animal would you be, he asked,
refusing the question. All I could think of
was a chair on the patio of my old house,
creaking according to the yen of the weather
and twilight like a tear-dimmed eye
and the boots by the door, waiting.