Always eager to make things better
& more
I would walk downstairs
at night
when my mother couldn’t sleep
sitting in her lap
clad in pale yellow
flannel pajamas
with white rick rick trim
I would trace
where the tears
had dried on her face
with stubby fingers
that smelled of baby powder.
She would get up
and fix me
a plate of buttered saltines.
One in the middle
four framing the edge
of the blue ceramic plate.
I don’t know why she didn’t
offer me a traditional
glade of warm milk,
I only knew that
when I had eaten
the five crackers
topped with a thin
layer of butter,

(love letters down my gullet)

she would carry me up to my bed
and I could
fall asleep again.

***

Today, my boss had so many meetings
back to back
she didn’t have time for
a lunch break.

“Do you want me to pick something up for you?”
I offered.

“Well, where are you going?”

“Anywhere, I can go anywhere.”

“I kind of want those dried wasabi peas
and some dark chocolate.”

I nod.
“I’ll go to Uwajimaya.”

Smelling the exhaust of several busses,
I am yet again on another mission
to make it better,
leopard print crocs
pounding the pavement
& countless crosswalks.
The bags of wasabi peas
are all in Japanese,
I can’t tell which is
the right one.
I take a guess,
adding it to the
bar of dark chocolate,
small plastic box of such
and single white nectarine
already in my arms.

Food is love.

I take the same route back on foot,
beaming.
This is making it better,
this is my purpose for the afternoon.
She smiles and nods,
mouthing “thank you”
as I tiptoe into her office
gingerly, placing wasabi peas,
dark chocolate and some change
on her desk, like bringing
and offering to an altar.

I go back to my desk
& do several useful tasks
that I’m supposed to,
but bringing her what she craved
is the favorite
and most important thing
I’ve done today.

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