With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
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I do the dishes hours after dinner,
When scents have ripened on the empty plates.
I’m folded in a world of essences:
The earthly roughness of a baked potato,
Ripeness of warm cheeses, garlic oil
That saturates last bits of beet and carrot
Till they cling to plates like bright confetti
On an empty street. I’m overwhelmed
With desire for a thing that never was,
Like memory of a love that finally ripens
In the mind, long after it is gone.
Love, life has washed me far from you, yet here
On the naked surface of my soul you’re real
As the ripening essence of a vanished meal.
Joseph Daniel Sobol