With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
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for my mother
If you could have picked your own heaven,
it would be here at Ocean City with the waves’
arched eternity of comings and goings
and that sweet shop on the boardwalk
that makes the macaroons you loved.
All those drives home on Saturday nights,
your mmmmm with each bite softened
the parkway breeze squeezing into our car.
Even in the nursing home, after you’d lost
your appetite for almost everything, the box
of moist macaroons could brighten you
enough to get you speaking about the shore
and how you met my father in ’29.
Tonight the moon turns other lovers
into shadows on the beach
where I stand holding these macaroons
that I bought remembering how you loved them.
Behind me lights dim on the souvenir stands
and the carousel’s circle wheezes
to silence, and I feel
what you felt for life’s giant and tiny joys,
like oceans and macaroons. Somewhere
from the center of the sea’s beautiful darkness,
your soul blesses me still as I take
a macaroon from the waxed paper
and bite into the warm, wet coconut,
a sweet communion with what you loved,
a celebration of life after death.