Before the Occasion of Your Death
The scent of your deodorant mixed with the steam
from the shower. How you build a fire, getting it to catch
the first time. The lasagna you make, that requires
three hours of simmering on the stove, perfuming
the house with a rich tomato smell. How you fold
your t-shirts with precision but hate making the bed.
Your love of children’s cereal, the more rainbow
colors the better. Your big hands and small feet.
That at forty-one you still don’t have any gray hair.
How you read to me that night in the ER, when
it took four hours to be seen and I whimpered
in pain. How you laugh because I can’t cut
a pizza evenly. Your delight when I bought you
a five-pound gummy bear and you sliced it
like prime rib, starting with an ear. How you call
cauliflower ghost broccoli and refuse to eat it.
How you recreated your Oma’s cucumber salad
through trial and error because she died before
she could tell you the recipe. The way you dance
with me at weddings even though you dance
like a cliché. How this list is incomplete,
how it can never be complete, how you’re still
breathing and living but I know one day you won’t.