Now that I cook for you,
prepare risotto, salad, fish,
offer this as candles burn,

later wash plates, bowls,
bide time until you drift in,
take turn, cotton towel, dry,

remove tearlike streaks, china,
steamy, dripping, clean, let me
embrace you -- seize one moment

before mantel clock chime
announces another hour gone --
signal the kind of bond we share:

busy, dizzy lives, volumes
of emptiness -- finally, flight
from spinning days, arrive home,

together, droplets not wiped away --
we must cling with fierceness
to the lip of our tenuous dish.

Timothy Pilgrim
(This poem was inspired by "Ruling out indictment," published by Pilgrim in 1985 in the Trestle Creek Review.)