POEM BY ALLENE NICHOLS
You’ve measured me by teaspoons
and found me strange to your taste.
You prefer cinnamon and sugar.
You collect teddy bears and ceramic dolls.
You gather your grandchildren
like gingerbread girls and boys.
Your eyes never meet mine.
You serve me tea in the front room
and then usher me quickly out.
You tell me that you love me,
but your cold hands pull away
and the door closes firmly behind me.
I’ve never told you about my lover,
the way she pours me out in gallons
and bathes in the taste of my skin.
When I start to tell you her spices,
sweet rosemary and savory basil,
you hang up the phone.
Have you heard of cassia?
It looks and tastes like cinnamon,
but it damages the human body
and kills rats. So if you’re afraid of poison,
it’s not my teaspoon full of seasoned salt
you need to dread.