Now that his spice jars are A to Z,

sadness hovers over the stew pot


He can reach and snatch cumin or rosemary,

locate car keys and billfold,

everything in its place except

the lost and lonely soul he knew,

happy to be outside a Dewey Decimal System

of grocery lists, doctor’s appointments,

dinners with new friends,

exercise with a trainer,

the counting of sit up repetitions


When the stew pot bubbled in its random juices,

a jazz quartet played scratchy on a turn table;

love making was come as you are;

Tony stopped by with a deal;

Madeline too with her violin,

and nobody around the fireplace

bragged about their stock options


His spice rack is lovely, polished and pure,

a work of art made to order,

composed of classic strips of soft oak,

cubicles he can square with his fingertips,

a harmonious mix of curies he can conjure

out of recipe books lined in a row

on the kitchen counter


Stuck now within the limited spaces he created

to organize a life of chaos and fear

he searches for the woman red with laughter,

a bold apron and a ladle in the air

between bay leaves and Babylon