She tells him she’s leaving him and he
bakes a pie. His pies are exquisite,
their crusts like crinoline.
He doesn’t change clothes, works
in slacks, shirtsleeves rolled.
Summer makes the kitchen unbearable
but he suffers beautifully, tenderly
cuts the strawberries, pours
into the deep curve of the bowl.
She hadn’t missed his hands since
last they drew her to his body.
Now she watches them stroke the edges
of the dough, shape it like cooling glass.
When the oven opens, his brow drips,
he brings his hands to his face.
Arden Levine’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Rattle, The Delmarva Review, AGNI Online, Bodega Magazine, Emotive Fruition, Underwater New York, and elsewhere. She is a reader for Epiphany, holds a Master of Public Administration from New York University, consults to nonprofit organizations, and lives in Brooklyn. (updated 6/2015)
In May 2016, former U.S. poet laureate Ted Kooser chose to feature her poem “Offering” (AGNI Online) in his newspaper and online column “American Life in Poetry.”