Crying Over Spilt Milk, by J.J. Steinfeld
“Crying Over Spilt Milk” was first published in Space and Time (Issue #119, Summer/Fall 2013).
Why are you crying, Mister?
the little animal asks
and to say I am taken aback
is an understatement to the tenth power.
Because — I clear my throat
and think about a long-ago lecture
on theology and the paranormal
I missed to see a foreign film —
because in a poem I wrote
when I was fifteen
and learning about metaphors
I made the souls of the lost milky
encased them in a fragile urn
bought at an antique store
and now I see that milk
from long ago on the sidewalk
and I cry for the milk
and all the lost metaphors
of my youth equally lost.
A metaphor is a trick, I explain,
a trick of the mind and the eye —
milk and soul, soul and milk.
Are you not thirsty? the animal asks
then I wonder if it too is a metaphor
an artificial construct of mine
or merely a little animal
who has learned to speak from
a distance-education course
on the all-too-real internet.