Soufflé

When I was a kid
in love with a girl
I took a bus to New York City
and there remember
only two things
she didn’t thrill by stepping
in the room.

It dumped eight inches of rain
into the Holland Tunnel.
And then safe in her
New Jersey home,
in an empty kitchen,
I made a soufflé
with whatever was about —
whatever.

There was some cheese.
People came and went.
Some flour.
Her parents were divorcing.
Some butter, all abandoned:
the refrigerator
was a time capsule,
a locker of remembered love.

Everyone ignored me,
and that was just.
It was she, only she, anyway.
The soufflé had a crust,
sweet-strange as a metaphor.

I sat at the kitchen table,
the rain dry,
the roads winding unimportantly,
and ate the whole perfect
thing.