Wednesday, August 25, 2010

cold solace

the last of the norton trees

When my mother died
one of her honey cakes remained in the freezer.
I couldn't bear to see it vanish,
so it waited, pardoned,
in its ice cave behind the metal trays
for two more years.

On my forty-first birthday
I chipped it out,
a rectangular resurrection,
hefted the dead weight in my palm.

Before it thawed,
I sawed, with serrated knife,
the thinnest of slices --
Jewish Eucharist.

The amber squares
with their translucent panes of walnuts
tasted -- even after I toasted them -- of freezer,
of frost,
a raisined delicacy delivered up
from a deli in the underworld.

I yearned to recall life, not death --
the still body in her pink nightgown on her bed,
how I lay in the shallow cradle of the scattered sheets
after they took it away,
inhaling her scent one last time.

I close my eyes, savor a wafer of
sacred cake on my tongue and
try to taste my mother, to discern
the message she baked in these loaves
when she was too ill to eat them:

I love you.
It will end.
Leave something of sweetness
and substance
in the mouth of the world.

Anna Belle Kaufman in the September issue of The Sun

1 comment:

Heterodynemind said...

I can't bear to see no comment here. What a marvelous thing, it's so full of love and longing and meaning and loss. Is there anything as poignant as the piece of cake from your dead loved one, the piece of wedding cake before the and emotions are so intimately linked anyway. I enjoyed this tremendously and doubt I will be able to stop thinking about it for some time. Thank you for this.

Related Posts with Thumbnails