by Joanna Cleary
I make a quiche while it snows outside,
a cruel chill after a mid-March warmth.
There’s something sensual in baking only
for oneself. My husband died years ago.
Now, from time to time, I take up lovers;
I may put together a meal or two for them,
but often not. I like to pleasure myself
with food I’ve made for my mouth alone.
In the quiet of the snow, I can imagine
I’m young—frivolous amid the violence
of spring’s relentless battle to conquer.
With the children grown up and gone,
I can afford to splurge, buying the food
they refused to eat growing up. And yet,
at times I miss them. I’ll shape dough
into tiny bodies and think of my daughter
and son walking to their own homes,
perhaps to greet their own lovers, perhaps
nursing silent griefs they’ll never share
with me. In my garden, I think of them
as I crouch down to feel the frozen mud.
Spring will soon triumph, making me age
once again, but will absolve my body
after I stain my hands with dirt to mark
the final bloodshed of our April thaw.
I’ll pull up vegetables for another quiche,
claiming the spoils of war offered. I too
will be forgiven. I too will be victorious.
Joanna Cleary (she/her) is an emerging queer (#lgbtqia) artist and recent graduate of the University of Waterloo. Her work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in The /tƐmz/ Review, The Hunger, Gordon Square Review, Apricity Press, Digging Through The Fat, Typehouse Magazine, The Gravity of the Thing, Funicular, and Canthius among others. Connect with her on Instagram @joannacleary121.