Camembert

She wept as she sat in the restaurant

And ate sweet, perfect camembert alone.

She did not smile and neither did she speak -

And yet tear after tear rolled down each cheek,

Each filled with concentrated, tender pleasure

That only those small bites of cheese could measure.

How strange that something so unnecessary

As deliciousness should move her in this way -

The little pieces of milk, soft, pale, and darling

From some small unknown farm up to the north.

Yet she sat at that table thoughtfully,

With that hour's one true purpose, to taste cheese,

That she would then select for one month's menu.

Still, the moment conjured something more.

But why go looking there, into the past?

Isn't it enough that eating is

Much more than need, and that for her, the boss

Of joy beyond the mere day of survival,

This morsel on this afternoon was more

Than any food need be on any shore?

Her taste a kind of gratitude, or prayer

Intensely concentrated on the tongue,

And with that joy now to a purpose strung,

She finally put down the knife and fork,

Wiped off her lovely lips with a blue napkin,

Picked up a pen lying idly by her hand,

And wrote down, under ''Cheeses,'' Camembert.

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