A Short Good Life

Sweet Tooth

I have a sweet tooth,
and I come by it honestly.
My dad loved every kind of dessert.
Did my mom love them too,
or did she love most
providing the treats for her men –
her man and we, the boys?
Pondering now, Yes, I think
she loved them, too.
She was the savorer
who enjoyed each bite, each mouthful.
Without effort, her way was to take her time --
all the time in the world,
always the last at the table
Yet the sensory pleasure was dwarfed
by the delight she felt as the giver.
It was as if we were the euphoric dogs
hearing her set down our bowls on the floor,
racing to gobble our kibble in ecstasy.

The treat that jumps to mind this minute --
baby rum buns.
I’d discern that mom had gone shopping
at the department store.
I knew that, in addition to selling clothes and wares,
Hutzler’s had a bakery.
Had she stopped there?
I didn’t ask, not wanting to risk hearing No.
I just watched
until, from the bottom of the last bag,
she lifted a large white cardboard box --
or maybe even two.
I’m not sure how I got to be there first,
but, in my memory, I was.
So, I had the privilege of lifting the lid
after she clipped the tape.
Oh my god the box is full --
more baby rum buns than I can count –
the smell of the swirled dough so buttery,
the hardened icing so sweet and thick and still smooth,
the crevices brown with cinnamon,
and on each an absurdly bright red cherry.
I’m tipsy remembering that in these treats
I’m allowed for the first time to taste real rum!

Read more poems