Mary Elizabeth Parker
Gifts She’d Wish to Give
Concrete poured not quite stiff enough in summer crumbles with first cold to a new confectionery–divinity airy with holes–so that the new storehouse’s hopeful base is not secure for winter. Sky a milky eye gone bad, the changes slight and as un-remarked as the concrete which hollows like fat cells emptying beneath her skin. I love you, the husband says, although that won’t be enough. The body–at this late, delicate age demanding as much stuffing as she will give it–continues despite her blood flowing pinkish now, non-substantive, never again so full to bursting that if a whole ox were discovered, dressed out and shiny with juice, they’d laugh and eat, as if they expected it. What to do? Erect a glass house with a view of the river–build flush to the flood line, daring the water to climb and kiss, because it will. The children who grew away are coming back now; light caroms off the furniture, seeking a place to curl. The dead in her dreams line up for gifts–a wafer she can proffer, or a velvet box with one green jewel. Grasshoppers explode from the coils of garden hose, splintering the interstices small motion conserves.