by Lily Trotta
You spread your best whipped butter on
a fresh baked peasant loaf and dunk
a piece in your afternoon coffee while we sit.
Tomorrow I am going to leave you
like the smell of warm bread through
the little window by the sink,
not necessarily for someplace better.
Tell me, are you happy in this room?
Does the sunlight warm your work-stiff
fingers? I catch you kneading dough sometimes
as though it’s the one doing the shaping.
One day, my hands will swell like yours
to gnarled tree trunks that push through
my skin like a dusting of snow and lock
themselves around a powdery rolling pin. Already,
I press on one sharp and reddened knuckle
like I’m trying to force it back in place.
Tonight, I’ll soak my hands in a nice cream,
orange blossom and lavender. You’ll wrap them up
for me in plastic and we’ll laugh as I try
to use my phone, pour the wine, tie back
my hair without use of my fingers. And when I see you
off to bed, you’ll give my velvet fist
a painless squeeze in yours, like roots
strangling softer roots.
And then, tomorrow. Leaving you. Your thin skin
and your drafty house and your clean
yellow kitchen with those tools and those smells,
the neverending afternoonness,
your tree trunk knuckles spreading over mine.
I think I should have mentioned the basket
hanging high near the little window by the sink, kept full
always with heads of onions and loose garlic cloves,
a few dumpy sweet potatoes. Please,
reach carefully when there is something you need.