Whatever Sweetness We Would Hold

Jared Beloff

My house plants curl their leaves late, bending to the light,
holding whatever warmth they have. I lean in closer,
feel the waxy skin, note small furrows near the edges
like my grandmother’s crow’s feet when she smiled,
pulling a shawl around her shoulders, a squint pinching
her skin to shield against her oven’s heat, shine of her joy–
she made pie crusts by hand, molding buttered dough
between thumb and forefingers careful not to catch
under her nails. Watching them cool on the sill, she’d curl
an arm across to keep us, our small bodies already expanding
to inhale, keeping our noses from getting too close, knowing
we wanted to sliver them open, air bending like laden flowers,
jam bubbling just underneath, knowing whatever sweetness
we would hold loses heat, spreads thin between fingers,
knowing that our hunger puddles out before it can settle.

Jared Beloff is a teacher and poet who lives in Queens, NY with his wife and two daughters. You can find his work in littledeathlit, Neologism Poetry Journal and the forthcoming issues of Wine Cellar Press, Gyroscope Review and the Westchester Review. You can find him online at www.jaredbeloff.com. Follow him on twitter @read_instead.