Amherst Live Poetry Prize Winner

by Lynne Francis

Our daughter has come on the train
from New York with a pomegranate tart
in her lap.  She bursts into the kitchen bearing
it up – a crown of snowy ermine ringed
in garnet jewels.  Her hands, still stained a startling, irridescent pink
from shimmying seeds out of pale catacombs, peek out
from last year’s coat sleeves.

She lays the beautiful thing on the counter with relief
and before we kiss hello, we coo
over its stunning architecture, the surreal look of perfect
ruby seeds pressed against the sides of a snow bank
of cream cheese, eggs and sugar.  The flat center looks like a rink
before the skaters arrive – glassy, unetched, pristine.

The oven in her Hell’s Kitchen walk-up is small and unreliable.
Her counter is a drawing board laid over the bathroom sink.  How
did this miraculous thing emerge from that kitchen
looking like something from Saveur? How did it survive
the cab ride at 6 a.m., the ticket line at Penn Station, the jostling
for a seat and the unexpected change to a shuttle in Hartford?

The old centerpiece is whisked away. We make room for this gift from
the eldest daughter, distant sister, who in years past
stayed in the City or just brought wine.