The cold air surprised me,
in addition to the fact
that I couldn’t remember if the word surprise
is written with an s or with a z.
I also forgot that last week
that I ordered chocolate
for my grocery pickup order today,
discovered it in the bottom of the bag.
I rip through the simple cardboard,
the delicate foil, place an inch and a half
of deep brown cacao with salt flakes
on my tongue, rest it at the top
of the mouth to smell the flavor.
Decadent, my friend says, irresistible, I say.
The noises of my tongue fully engaged.
My taste buds, wrapped around memory,
around the heart of all we forget.
This chocolate smells like Easter as a child,
a holiday whose scent, to me, is not of grass
or white patent leather shoes restricting
the feet with white tights, not of Jesus dying
or gone missing and reappearing, or the scent
of a holiday ham, but of sugar.
Chocolate in the shape of a rabbit,
rainbow colored flavors of beans, colorful
plastic eggs stuffed with candy, waiting in the yard.
They are unlike the roses that collect
dust, as if the only way to have peace is to grow old.
Candy that waits to belong
to someone’s mouth’s desire, in spring.
But now, the autumn of the heart
has brilliant colors, ones that do not know
suffering, protect the self
from the wind and storm they did not birth.
The many things we can ask the heart
may be a surprise. A surprise with an s
may be softer than one with a z,
but a z always seems to be
a letter that is more fun.