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FIVE MEALS / Marilyn Hacker For Sandy A table means does it not my dear it means a whole steadiness —Gertrude Stein: Tender Buttons Slices of ham, pâté, sausage, on lettuce leaves; cauliflower, wedge of duck in a browned wine sauce; lettuce, raw cabbage, vinegar and oil; a square of walnut cake with mocha frosting; Camenbert in green foil, a hard roll, butter; a half-bottle of champagne, black coffee. Croissants, butter, orange juice, coffee. Beaujolais versus St. Emilion. Bib leaves with grated sheep's cheese; snails in garlic butter; roast suckling pig crackling in juice; red wine in a glass pitcher; chocolate mousse. Breath frosting the glass in your hand. Brandy in bed. Oil cost a lot, in huge bottles. Without oil we ate endive, goat cheese. No coffee take-outs in Paris. The crème fraîche, peaked like frosting, you scooped up with moon-green feather-shaped leaves cross-legged on the bed. We uncorked wine with my Swiss knife. Between sour cream and butter: I lick fingers of cream. The gold-foiled butter cube you've shaped, between jam labels, in oil crayons. Tongues are smoothed by rough young red wine. The drawing's edge is a brown stream of coffee. You save one tangerine with two long leaves curling the globe. Dark chocolate, like torte frosting out of the bowl. Morning, cold rain frosting the cubed panes. Croissants, tartines and butter. We're still sleepy, but neither of us leaves a crust. I stroke your peach-furred cheek; hot oil wells from the source as the first milky coffee pours down. You have no crayons for the wine The Missouri Review · 17 colors. We could only drink white wine but it's too cold. The rain puddles are frosting over. We plan excursions with more coffee. You fold the currant jelly and the butter labels. In Florence there'll be olive oil cheap, in baroque tins. Our train leaves at seven. I leave our New Year's wine frosting in the kitchen. Rainbows of oil swirl on warm smells: buttered fresh bread, strong coffee. 18 ¦ The Missouri Review Marilyn Hacker ...


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