half a lemon
In desperate situations, a sheet of paper less than two inches wide
can house a piece of art, a poem, a birthday greeting. For music,
hands on a steering wheel, or a thigh, or the closest coffee table. Prayer
hardly needs a pew, or a cloaked figure at a lectern, or a book of invocations.
Once, I served a meal with only a clutch of spaghetti and half a lemon.
Twenty years later, I can still remember the splinters on that table,
the mismatched chairs, the citizens of a kitchen in a London youth hostel
united by our late-night hunger and a scatter of ingredients. How we gathered close,
almost teetering into each other, passing a dish of salt and a chipped pepper-grinder
as outside, the rain erased the year behind us drop by drop.