Went to see Cookieman at the bakery. The café Tavolo Pronto
opened this Spring and it was like having a little outpost from Italy
land in the neighborhood. Giant cheeses hang from the ceilings. Cookieman’s
real name is Dan but I call him Cookieman because he has always given me
something sweet for free. It began the first time we met. A lemon drop, a
pignoli cookie, some chocolate bark. Without even knowing it was my birthday,
that day he chose to make little personal sized dark chocolate cakes, some
topped with raspberry preserves and some with nutella. I bought one of each. He
always asks where I have been and sometimes I have to say nowhere but this time
I said Rhode Island.
He was making a new kind of cookie. Alfajores. Chilenitos. A South American
cookie, two round scalloped butter sugar cookies held together by dulce de
leche and dusted with powdered sugar. His ex girlfriend’s recipe, he says. I
say “Oh you should make a cookbook of recipes of ex girlfriends.” He says “Oh
it would be very short, only two pages.” I tell him that his café is my church.
He says I should come there more often.
Solstice Double Rainbow
Sometimes you think the earth cannot get any more beautiful
and then a double rainbow rises up out of the land and
plunges into the ocean
and four Russian kids in New Jersey leap into the sea, fearless,
riding the waves into shore, bobbing and tumbling like seals while their
mothers stand watch.
And we two strangers look over them also
as the rain and sun falls all around us, and the sea sweeps
in and out,
and into the deep gray sky are burned the colors
violet indigo blue green yellow orange red,
and on the other rainbow mirrored
red orange yellow green blue indigo violet,
Reflective twins, stunt doubles.
No one needs a promise, no one needs a pot of gold.
Everything we need is right here,
and side by side we sink our feet into it
as it rushes in all around us.
The Pear Tree
Our ritual is this~
We run through the autumn rain
to the pear tree
which is so laden with fruit
we think of ourselves as almost charitable
relieving its boughs of the weight
which is threatening to crack it in two,
split its limbs from its body.
The rain is thick and chilly.
The dog’s body so golden running over lush neglected grass,
like a river of gold,
rushing over a river
We each grab a pear
and then turn and run,
fast as we can,
back to the house.
I am a child again.
Once inside the door,
the dog cheerfully greedily grabs at both pieces of fruit.
His smiling jaws leaving tooth marks in our quarry, he
steals mine while I am drying his paws with a towel.
What can I say that he will understand?
I say nothing and wait for tomorrow
when I will be quicker, when I will be smarter.
I am kneeling in the Acme grocery
store in Fair Haven, New Jersey
perusing the dizzying assortment of chocolate chips on the lowest shelves when
an elderly man leaning on his cart approaches and asks:
“Soup, down the next aisle?”
“Yes, I believe it is.”
“Making cookies?” he asks.
“Yes,” I smile.
“Nope, just me. How about you?”
“Nope, at 94 I am on my own.”
His eyes are clear and blue and he looks really not even a
day over seventy. Nice skin, straight posture. The only give-away is the very
careful way he grips the cart’s hand bar. And the fact that he is relaxed, he
seems to have time, unlike some of other shoppers who are so hurried we must
dodge them like traffic.
“They had a big party for my 90th”
We continue to chat. He tells me a joke.
“You know what the inside of a tree
and a dog’s tail have in common?”
I shake my head no.
“They are both the furthest from
“Ok,” he says, “here is another one.”
There was a 90 year old man who
went to his doctor and told him to give him a physical because he is getting
married, and that to his surprise and delight he is marrying a 25 year old.
The doctor says, “I will do it but
I am not sure it is a good idea, it could lead to death.”
The man shrugs and says, “Well, if
she dies she dies.