When a poet invites you to dinner
you attend with all your senses.
Julie has prepared a feast
for her circle of friends.
She’s doused the electric lights
and put the baby to bed.
One by one we come in from the cold
and find the way across the warm threshold
charmed with candlelight and symphony,
the air full of herbs and balsamic
and the laughter of communion.
We take wine and talk
in comfort and comradeship,
drawn by aroma to her table where we circle
and settle as slowly as stirred tea leaves.
She has sacrificed and prepared for us
a hen from her family’s farm.
There are new potatoes in basil-flecked butter sauce,
garden lettuce and chard,
feta cheese, vinegar and oil,
and dark wine in tall glasses.
The cheer and the talk rise up in the air
like steam curling in the gleam of candles
until at length our voices lower to a murmur
as plates vanish and cups are filled again.
Then Julie brings the rose petal sorbet.
We do not know what this is.
Quietly she explains.
In a long day her patient fingers
gathered enough wild roses
to fill a sack with tiny petals.
To this ambrosial meat she brought
sugar and lemons, fire and ice,
making just enough to offer us each
one pale pink ball of frost,
barely larger than the rose itself,
in a tiny crystal bowl.
When a poet makes dessert for you,
you attend with all your heart,
because she has compacted her time,
hard labors, and a distillation
of acres of wild roses,
flavor fulfilling beyond nourishment.
You do not ask for more. You hold this taste
in mind and memory, so much life and beauty,
so small a dish.