Some years I am young growing younger. I taste cork grease in the strawberry soup; a ragwater reed in the tiramisu. I wake up deaf hearing whispers and in each dream the nurse cranking the audiometry box frowns but never asks if I'm getting over a cold. Life imitates art. I step from a bath and it is not all noir: when I pull on the robe the robe becomes wet and so does the rug and so does the parquet, and when I answer the door it is not Alain Delon but Orson Welles. Did you know he was born in Wisconsin? We drink wine. I taste cork. He graciously repeats the punch lines, chuckling each time, never frowning, never saying a quoi bon, nevermind. Some years I am new to the humor; some years I am late to the joke and who but a pockmarked god with a clock full of earmarked years would suffer my secondhand clarinet? Accompany me further out of tune? Mop my dreams and drain the tub? Praise my strawberry soup? Teach me tiramisu?