by David T. Gay


known also as cantuccini

are Italian almond biscuits

that originated in the city of Prato

they are twice-baked, oblong-shaped

dry, crunchy, and dipped in a drink

traditionally Vin Santo


over coffee couples form

to admire the endless beauty of the morning

and try to say the river, the water, white and green

the heron, the mallards, the carbon hazy sky

the dam that strains every drop of romance

rippling cold and slow in the black depths between the banks

a couple this lovely May morn, what a pleasant date

rather a press of friendship with quelled desire

like coffee black as the river but hot

and endless, something we want

to discover, like gold

one hundred and seventy years ago

but what’s time to two lovers

nothing, spurn it

love’s eternal, right?

only count the dawns and measure the full moons

before you can lie together in secret on the bay

where the whales listen and the driftwood fire

smokes the air with distant laughter to keep you grounded

still this far upriver she only looks at him and bites off half a chocolate-dipped biscotti

urging the other half on

he takes the proffered cookie with a rascal’s air of thievery

bold, as if he owns it (for he’s both scoundrel and gentleman)

and like his dreams of holding her beneath Waimea Falls

or coming home from work to take her in his arms

it disappears

until nightfall, when the stars come out again, and he loves her like the moon