What it is not
is Jello, the kind you got
in the hospital when you had your tonsils out
or what was served in the cafeteria when you were
in grammar school. It does have the faint texture
of gel but that is where the similarities end.
Beyond beige, a color that keep its secrets to itself
creamy like things with refined viscosity
slow of movement, always an elegant quality
if sweet, but not the cheap cherry red sweet
lime green or orange orange of store-bought candies.
Its faithful companion, caramel, is a condiment worthy
of exotic Madagascar vanilla and, let’s face it
you are often judged by the company you keep.
Sometimes round like a disk of contentment
or oblong, rectangular or pie shaped
when served on a stylish saucer becomes
an after dinner offering of distinction.
Its recipe found among ancient Roman ruins
implies a staying power and compared
to other custards like bread or rice pudding
which can’t hold a candle to this enchanted
concoction, its alchemy, not of lead into gold
but of eggs and milk and sugar plus heat, is
a domestic transformation worthy of legend and myth
but we all know how little history values domesticity.
And finally, in praise of its worthiness, it answers
the age-old question “What if all you ever gain
with age is wisdom?” implying not only a rhetorical
answer, but the epiphany of small pleasures
not just defining them, but enjoying them.