and leaves a cardboard box on my porch. I place the parcel on my table beside a vase of dead sunflowers and consider whether to open it or call my mother, whose hip is giving out. Inside the delivered box, another package with the same rectangular dimensions, the same sky-blue tape sealing the slits. Had I ordered something? Neither box has a label. Inside the second package, a third, slightly smaller. I think of nested silver spoons, a set of Russian dolls—the chain of dark-eyed daisies intricately painted on a scarf tied around the plump matriarch’s face as she returns from threshing wheat in a distant field somewhere, a black hen beneath her arm. But this is no parable of winter. Inside the third box, styrofoam packing-peanuts surround a dozen chocolate globes the size of marbles. I pick one up and cradle the map printed on the wrapper—the world rendered borderless, a land mass contiguous and beige. Someone told me if you inflate a marble to the size of the Earth the imperfections on the seemingly smooth glass would form unclimbable mountains, plumbless seas. I shed the foil from the small Earth and crumple the wrapper into a silver moon and place the milk-chocolate mantle beneath my tongue, lie down among the cardboard and styrofoam, and feel the plates shift and the crust buckle inside my body, where demand for connection always outpaces supply.
Benjamin Gucciardi is the author of the chapbook I Ask My Sister’s Ghost (DIAGRAM / New Michigan Press, 2020). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Harvard Review, Indiana Review, AGNI, Orion, Third Coast, The Best New Poets, and elsewhere. He has won Iron Horse Literary Review’s Trifecta Poetry prize, the Milton Kessler Memorial Prize from Harpur Palate, and the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize. He works with refugee and immigrant youth in Oakland. (updated 4/2020)