–after W.H. Auden
You are my kitchen.
I can’t make my eggplant dish without you.
You dice the onions so I won’t cry.
You strike the match to light the oven.
You are my salon. You serve rosé in cut-glass goblets.
I have no desire to sweep the floors without you here.
You are my critic, my lost amethyst ring, my favorite berry.
You are the knife that scrapes the pith of me, the toothy grin
of the missing boy on the milk carton, my root beer float.
My legs cannot wrap around this emptiness.
You are the postcard of Calliope you airmailed
from Mykonos, that other time you left, vowing
to never return. And then, the present of you.
Gifts of brisket, banter, sidesplitting quarrels.
I make rugelach every year on your birthday.
You are my morning shower, my evening biscuit.
by Risa Denenberg
Editor’s note: This ode’s first line offers a metaphor so unusual that the urge to read on is impossible to ignore. Happily, the rest of the poem lives up to this opening, proving that sentimental poetry is not dead, and never has been.