The Woman Who Runs a Successful Restaurant

The meringue,
           stacked high like skyscrapers,
           looming over coconut cream and crust:
They groan with every bite.
Deep, vocal moans—as close as you can get
           in polite company
           to public sex.

It makes her happy
to make them happy.
To ladle rich gravy over buttery potatoes,
a hint of rosemary—her
dear grandmother living again
on their tongues,
briefly resurrected by the wizardry of recipe.

It makes her happy
to roll out dough every morning
for chicken and dumplings,
to drop pork chops into Crisco,
the pan staccato
the burn just so.

Their faces, shiny from warmth and grease,
from the conversation over a meal,
the zing of coffee and pie and
a cinnamon roll to go.

Cheeks, fleshy walls of happiness everywhere she looks.

She stops at McDonald’s on the way home
and doesn’t turn on the kitchen light.
She eats in the dark
and falls asleep on the couch.