Wishbones

Bone white, bone dry, bone silent wishbones hang
On a small brass hook, game hen, turkey, duck,
Chicken, quail, beside the sun-splashed window,
Slight gothic arches for a cloister walk


Into the sweet cathedral of cuisine
That was your heavenly kitchen, Louise,
The wooden trestle table an altar
Circled by half-a-dozen chaises d’eglise


For celebrants each evening’s wedding feast,
Wine in antique French bottles, fresh-baked bread,
Spices, incense, perfume for copper pots’
Ingredients, the room, the table spread


With fabric from Provence, the candles lit,
Faience, flatware, glasses set in place,
Each napkin named for someone in the house
Come to receive your culinary grace


Of being present in the food here where
If only for a moment we could take
A wishbone from the hook to wish you back
Before it is our hearts that have to break.

Sailing from Boston, 2003