If a former Poet Laureate of the U.S.
can write a poem about a spiral notebook,
I can write about my Pepperidge Farm cookies,
chocolate mint Milano, a favorite in my family
for five generations. Each bite I take
is a journey back in time to Nana Ceil in New Jersey,
to her humor, her stories, the gold fillings in her teeth.
I imagine how amused she’d be if she could see my grandchildren
climbing on the counter to reach the cabinet
with the cookies she so loved. Cookies that traveled
from New Jersey to Vermont, where I grew up,
and now live with me in Los Angeles. Cookies—chocolate chip—
that grace the table of my sister when I visit her in Israel.
And, oh, their names: not just Milano, but Lisbon, Lido,
Brussels, Bordeaux, Chessman, Pirouette. Before I even taste them,
they carry me away. My children laugh when I read aloud
the text on the Geneva bag, like one smitten with love:
An enchanting textured collage of indulgent delight …
an adventure in texture. I turn the bag around
to continue with The Art of the Cookie, which tells us
to begin with a baker’s soul … embrace decadent cravings.
Open … Taste … Delight. How can I resist?
They may laugh, but my youngest son heads to the kitchen
when he comes to visit—straight to the cabinet with the treasures,
for he, too, has inherited the mint Milano gene.
What could be better than a legacy of sweetness
passed from parent to child, the chain unbroken,
the craving always strong? So strong that, at 68,
I think I want this every day until I die:
to sit mid-morning at a table by a window
with a cup of coffee and a plate
of chocolate mint Milanos.
Lori Levy's (she/her) poems have appeared in Rattle, Paterson Literary Review, Poet Lore, Mom Egg Review, Poetry East, and numerous other literary journals and anthologies in the U.S., the U.K., and Israel. Her work has also been published in medical humanities journals. She lives with her extended family in Los Angeles, but "home" has also been Vermont and Israel and, for several months, Panama (while visiting her son and granddaughters).