For well over a year now, I’ve left
at the bottom of the cookie jar
the last two gingerbread figures
you molded out of sugar rather
than gingerbread dough
our final Christmas together.
They lay there, images without faces
like crime scene chalk outlines,
because you were too tired
to ice on eyes and smiles,
another pale, brittle pair
waiting for colors that might
bring them back to life.
Though stuck inside this air-tight glass,
they’re surely too stale now to open
the jar, let alone bite into them
because they’re the last thing
you touched to bring us joy.
What am I saving them for?
Even if they prove too hard,
I could always dip them in coffee,
a practice from my childhood
you found charming though
you never chose to imitate it.
Would it be like eating of the dead,
a feeble attempt at supernatural
communion to make you part
of me again, resurrecting your body
the only way I can? But why
Even now we’re still a couple;
such partaking isn’t necessary.
I doubt I’ll ever disturb their slumber.
They look too peaceful lying sideways
one atop the other as they fell
like a modern-day Jack and Jill,
waiting so thin and blank together
for some better time to come.
—from Rattle #25, Summer 2006