Dante and Isaac Asimov
agree to divide up the world.
“You can have the facts, Isaac,”
says Dante, waving his bagel,
“and the fiction. Just leave me the poem, O.K?”
Isaac thinks about that. He’s
unsure of this underfed stranger.
“The poem?” “Inferno and so forth. It’s
all the fame I need.” “That’s fair,” says Isaac.
Dante spreads his hands and smiles.
“Write all you like, my friend.
They’ll still remember me
when you are long forgotten.
Don’t you agree?”
Isaac shrugs. “You’re too
concerned about such things.
Ten books a year and I’m happy-
it doesn’t matter much what on.”
He sees that his plate is clean,
shoves back his chair. “Excuse me, please.
My typewriter calls. Perhaps
we’ll meet again?”
“Perhaps. Enjoy your work, my friend.”
Isaac is swallowed by the wind.
The poet lingers, looking at faces
swirling by his window.
“Always hurrying,” he says.