I think she woke to wonder every morning,
even when she was already a ghost.
Sat at her typewriter and leaped gracefully over the aching hollowness
(as fruits chilled all day on ice, served up with kirsch)
on the sweet moments,
the world quietly disappearing around her.
Fascists wander through the pages,
all smiles. Communists and beautiful Jewish girls
trying to forget and remember the starving pain
of imprisoned loved ones, being served strange meals
on old ships
by old stewards.
Champagne and caviar and the slow, voluptuous
always voluptuous, ever so voluptuous
pleasure of discovering that despite what men tell you,
you, as a woman, have the right to ask for
just what you want.
Love, she reminds us,
without ever telling us,
is complicated. People move about.
We hurt one another.
We break the rules.
We feed our strange hungers and our healthy ones,
and the alcohol in our blood and the strong or subtle flavors
are meant to be enjoyed,
and we are meant to enjoy each other,
and we are meant to enjoy ourselves.
I think that my gratitude would matter to her,
if she could ever have known
the things she taught me.
(For M.F.K. Fisher)