Sophia Galifianakis

When you took me out to lunch that day
and we saw that man kamasutra that lady

with his eyes, lean in, smile ever
so slightly and say in a hushed tone,

pass me the honey, honey, I wondered
what you were up to when you put

your hand on mine and said, pass me
the sugar, sugar.
I did, though I’d never

seen you put sugar in your tea before.
Maybe this was a new thing. Maybe

you were like the boy who planted
carrot seeds to see if they would grow.

They didn’t come up. And they didn’t
come up. Until one day they did.

Problem with me is, I have the opposite
of a green thumb, unless by green

you mean sick and infected, so when
you said that sweet thing, plopping

a spoonful of sugar into your tea,
I didn’t know what to expect. You reap

what you sow, but I didn’t know
if this seed would reap now of the spirit

or the flesh. Truth be told, both felt
shriveled, worn. Then you were gone,

disappeared the way love does sometimes
by hanging on to what it thought it was.

Meanwhile that couple ate under
a canopy of grapes overlooking a garden

so vast it could have been a luxury
rehab center with a horticultural therapist

who pushes a cart filled with bright green
foliage across the lawn to a group of men

and women in wheelchairs waiting
with rubber bands to wrap the stalks,

arrange them in glass vases they fill in
with stone. Back and forth, crooked hands

reach in and out of vases in a hypnotic
interspecies connection between patient

and vegetation that makes the bent spine
of each seem to lengthen. So unlike

the repetition of minutes that fold
into minutes in a routine that shrinks

and rearranges the shape of your dreams until
you realize the only thing you care about anymore

is when the day will end. Then the day ends.
But not before the doctor calls and says

you’ve got to come in for more testing,
don’t worry, but don’t leave town and

can you be here tomorrow morning
at eight, I have to tell you something.

Somehow, the days keep ending. Except
now you notice how the sunlight cradles

the evening, eases it like a baby into
its honey-red rest so tenderly it makes you

weep. Then morning rises like dew
radiating from the heat inside of you.

You walk the slow mile down the road
to the restaurant where no one touches

your arm, no one says anything.
There is no canopy. You sit with the light

overlooking the end of the season, the last
few stragglers of crop a past luster

wanting to be picked, but hanging on.

Sophia Galifianakis teaches at the University of Michigan, where she received her MFA in poetry. Her poems have appeared in Plume, Western Humanities Review, Arts & Letters, The Greensboro Review, World Literature Today online, and other journals.