I compare you favorably but inadvisably to the moon

Out your window
a tiny fingernail of moon,
that far dead thing,
pale as a side street
movie screen,
burnished silver of old watch
orphaned under cigar box lid,
lit by the gloss
of magazine and candle wax /
reflected light:
the thing itself dried up:
a buoy, salt-rimed
so long untethered
even gulls slip ignorant over.
I want to conduct life
from my bed, you say.
You have a cough
but you are still able.
A feather ticked loose
from the pillow
dances along your arm.
You do, I say.
You are not so old as that.

Ambition

I am haunted by the failures of great people:
how, inevitably, they were tossed out of Harvard,
eviscerated in newsprint,
cold-shouldered by forgotten matriarchs,

and I have to think
(you know where I’m going with this)
short of a criminal act,
how could I compete with the sad sack
who was Abraham Lincoln
before he was Abraham Lincoln,
the tubercular Eugene O’Neill,
the idiot Einstein,
the rejected Malcolm Lowry,
the incandescent torn and lovelorn
and thirsty,

except by standing on point
in front of our two sleeping
ginger tabbies
with a scallopshell lampshade for a hat,
wrapped in a pale blue polyester brocade,
and think
(keep it quiet, cats are sleeping)
could they do this?