THE TASTE OF LOSS
With the first sip of dark espresso
in the morning I think of her
how we would drink it together
and she said I always took too long
and let it go cold.
Another winter of her absence
and spring comes again without her.
A white squirrel chatters on the back porch,
last fall's pumpkin, half-gnawed, frozen there.
Azure sky above, sunlight on the snow.
From the bare lilac, a cardinal whistles,
a chickadee dee dees.
I stay in all this New Year's Eve day,
loss, the mineral salt taste in my mouth.
Turn it into a glass of ice water
I can down in one drink. I take it
in my hand, bring it to my lips, the smooth glass,
I know that burning cold, I know it.
From The Montreal Book of the Dead (Vallum Chapbook Series, 2014) by Mary di Michele