The Gift


Once, upon a summer day when she turned
nine or ten, she held a bowl of ice-mint
sweetly green and twice or thrice
the size of any need a little girl
might feel desire to satisfy. What
then, to do with it, before it melted
all away? She ate and ate, gave portions
to admiring boys, then licked the spoon
and watched the other half of mountain
loosen to a pool.

                              At thirty-nine, poised
at her computer screen, she pauses, turns,
looks over to the ivy on her desk,
her photographs, and out the window
to the willow where the men in their red
ties are eating lunch. Her hand tends
toward a turquoise mirror tucked
into the bottom drawer. She worries
a cold sore on her tongue. When she
is left among her facts and files, will she have
peak, and flavor? What to do, at last,
with all she has been given?


Tom Koontz, An Ordinary World.