Thursday, November 24


For an hour there is nothing
but rain on the stones, trillings of light
that signal a world into being.

For an hour there is only this hunger --
twilight settling into the trees, a bird
whose song I do not know, vanishing.

In an hour I will be home,
my jacket thrown onto the couch,
my wet shoes kicked off at the door.

Later, sipping wine in the kitchen,
watching candlelight refract in the
burn-sienna prisms of Chilean cabernet,

I will lift the large knife and lean
into the apple, fruit of New Zealand,
fruit of Madagascar, halving, quartering.

eighth- and sixteenth-ing it open--
this good, widely divisible world.
The walnuts from Jerusalem, green onions

from Spain, and then, if ripe, that visceral avocado.
I will sing to my daughter while stirring
the balsamic into the first cold-pressed
pressing of oil, grinding the pepper
as my voice grinds out the song,
doing the artichoke dance that she loves.

And when I say to my daughter say grace
she says grace, gracefully, gratefully,
a word for it sung into the air.

That we eat of what is given, these few
resilient gifts of a day, that we bow and eat
and watch the world for signs of who we are:

vanishing bird, circles and circles,
the rain perhaps slowing, perhaps
gaining on us all over again.

-- Ralph Black