“This was not my first fané,” he wrote.
After a meal, our Stephen loved to sail
into the dining room, holding aloft
this last course: ice cream, whipped cream, and meringue.
“Its presentation is a jaw-dropper…
love to do it for a newcomer.”
That night he chose a deeper bowl, whipped up
“not a measured slope but an escarpment…
the whipped cream avalanched, chips of meringue
floating around like icebergs…it always
thaws beautifully, but this time I took it
from the freezer and stuck it in a pan
of hot water, which was like climate change.
The melting added to the avalanche…”
Invoking the advice of Julia Child,
Do not comment, apologize or make
excuses, he carried it to his guests
con brio, “to the delight of all….”
Was it showmanship that, just weeks later,
bore him away—leaving behind
our grief like the sinkful of pots we’d wash
while he went off to nap—bore him, now light
and lush as fané, to another feast?
“Finale” was first published in America magazine, October 7, 2013.