Today the instructions came. 
 Nothing about communion 

 or dreams, the only clear directions 
 concern temperature, viscosity and field. 

 Nonetheless, our fears have diminished. 
 I find I can swallow, and experience 

 memories of the last time I took solid food. 
 It has been decades for all of us, yet 

 somehow we've survived.  We eat air, 
 sip vapor.  It is very slow here. 

Copyright 2000, James Bertolino 

James Bertolino's most recent volume of poems is SNAIL 
RIVER, Volume 34, 1995, in the Quarterly Review of Literature Award Series. He teaches Creative Writing at Western Washington University.