... everywhere, as if by secret agreement, a positive
revulsion from professional fasting was in evidence.
-Kafka, A Hunger Artist

Years have passed since you were in my city—
our city, then-and certain aspects of a certain day
remain with me like film in a goblet after wine.

You were young then, and it has occurred to me
many times over latterly that you may not recall
your, to my thinking, insolent questions about my art—
                questions which nonetheless cut to the heart

of the profession's disappearance from the urban
landscape. Since that time you have surely known
some of the abstractions your father-who impressed

me not a little-offered as introduction to my fading,
now all-but-gone practice of abstaining from what
                I loved, as the two of you happened upon me
on your way to inspect the city's treasures. You held