Softly, Bloom



Once, I had my mouth wired shut for six weeks post surgery on my jaw.
That same week, my dad, David, died.
While I grieved for my father, I struggled with exhaustion,
bone-deep pain, and crippling headaches – byproducts of loss
of parent and solid nutrition.

My brother-in-law, David, came to visit near the end
of my oral-binding phase.
Seeing me gaunt and pale, he asked
what taste I most missed.
I said cookies. Chocolate chip. My dad’s favorite.

David, ever the hospitable, who delighted in discovering
a person’s favorite foods, searching out the best
recipe, practicing a perfect version, and serving
this culinary gift when he next saw you,
was a great amateur chef, but not much of a baker.

Undaunted, he went to the grocery store and purchased
tubes of raw cookie dough, baked up a batch of gooey, undercooked,
heartbreakingly delicious chocolate chip dotted gobs of love
and told me to break off tiny pieces, slip them between my banded
teeth and let them rest on my tongue. Dissolve.

The only thing that possibly could have surpassed the delightfulness
of the taste of my father’s favorite treat at that moment was the sweetness
of my brother-in-law’s thoughtful creativity.

When this kind David, at age 47, suddenly died of a brain aneurysm several years later,
I tattooed a lotus on my wrist. Now each time I extend my right hand and reach out,
I see embedded in the flower’s shape, its flat bottom then arch of petals,
a D, and am reminded of my Davids, and the rare beauty and sweetness
that can grow from the murkiest and darkest of sources.

April 2015
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 21




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