by Nancy Simpson-Younger

I bite slowly, sinking
into the pillowy bagel, teeth striking the sugar.
Ooze of chocolate, decadent and imbricated
with the whole soft wheat,
fills in my mouth.
In your stroller, you watch with interest,
silent, lips twitching. Your jawline
drops. You meet my eyes, then study
the bagel, open, round, promising.

Flashback: thirty weeks of insulin,
needle-sticks piercing my stomach
just above the delicate hipbone,
your feet kicking inquisitively
at the silver slimline jab,
from the inside of me.
Together, we have never tasted sugar.

Your eyes curve hopefully to mine, full and round,
mirroring back the bagel,
the hoop and curve of sensory experience.
I loop the chocolate on my tongue, taste
the sinuosity of it.
It will not be your father who introduces you
to the thick and heavy richness
of taste.

Deliberate as always, you reach for the bagel,
tiny fingers sure and sturdy,
intent in their grasp. You study, slowly, and pinch
the richest of the chocolate deposits, your
pincer grasp inching a piece away.
When the chunk breaks off, and you draw it to your mouth,
eyes locked into mine,
something at the intersection of my rib cage seizes
in a squeeze of pinching knowledge.
And I see you taste, suddenly immersed
in the wash and pull of the chocolate,
your baby eyes wide, and rapt,
and a little scared.

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