She bites into a cookie and apologizes for crumbs.
She regrets not remembering the dates I traveled.
She’s sorry she didn’t call sooner.
Can I forgive her, she asks, for the lateness of her card?
She agrees that winter days shrink miserably short,
that tomatoes taste best in August, not July.
Her only insistence is she’s a failure with plants,
yet she presents me, nurtured by her own loving hand,
zucchinis perfect in firmness and size
and strawberries succulent and soft.
Were she bossy or brutish or willing to impose,
I could dismiss her with a monster at my throat.
But this inflation of politeness,
this everlasting deference
effacing its author line by kind line
lets dozing creatures slumber.
Without leap or splendor or appetite,
dull sedation creeps idly over me.
First published in Mused: Spring Equinox 2018