Ode to the Ampersand

Conjoiner, annexer, never
quite finished one, I admire
the way you coolly tuck
one foot behind your calf
while signaling the waiter
to bring one more pot
of Turkish tea or coffee,
one more plate of bread
or sweets— & I admire
how you never really run
out of things to say
while giving the general
impression you’re not
simply babbling—
& the diplomatic turn
to include everyone around
the table, first to last &
sometimes once again—
You can always be
counted on to be the one
who’ll never take no for
an answer, or at least
who’ll never think it
will be the last word—
& for some reason
at this very moment
I remember my kindergarten
teacher holding up a stem
of orange wire cleaner,
twisting it into a clever
loop & saying Look at all
the many shapes you
can make with this—

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