Mourning at the Kaldi Café

2012 String Poet Prize Honorable Mention

Yesterday at the Kaldi Café
the fruit of my loss was melon—

honeydew, cantaloupe, red water—
ripe bites I cut with a fork

as I told friends your
answer to my question

where are you now?
After lunch I found

old handkerchiefs
the color of melons

that I wear around
my hair today,

your mother’s handkerchiefs
I thought I had lost

pull my thick hair
away from the damp

base of my neck
for whatever air

there is to cool
the heat of my first

summer without you—
today pale greens and tangerines,

thin lines the color of seeds,
soften my severity.

At night when I untie my hair
I braid your name inside each cross—

my plaits rest on each breast
like you used to do.