I cross the small hall that connects
our studies and ask to borrow
his book again. He thinks it’s strange
that I’ve taken an interest in soil: 
definitions, explanations, and formulas 
for dirt, clay, and sand. Actually a single 
phrase has attracted me, angle of repose
a technical term for
how soil eventually settles.

Tonight for dinner we had lasagna
from the cafe down the street.
We split a serving. It tasted sweeter
than usual. We had to remove the newspapers 
and mail piled on the table to make a place
for our plates. I remember the meals
I used to prepare, maybe ten or twelve 
people around the table: Brunswick stew, 
corn bread, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, 
almond butter, heated debates, laughter.

We are not unhappy. We enjoy our work
and find pleasure in the smallest events:
a favorite song on the radio, a brief embrace
in the kitchen, the new comforter and sheets, 
a midafternoon nap, at night
the weight of our bodies in bed.

This poem originally appeared in No Longer.

— Ed.