Unknown Allergy

By Stephani Cook

The first meal that you planned for me—
Fourteenth of February.

Your beard was combed,
Champagne was lots,
The china had no water spots.

The table was set,
You used napkin rolls
And tied your apron with a bow.

Shucking their shells
With delicate force
you sang out every luscious course.

“Here’s the shallot mignonette
Shoot with an oyster
– Don’t forget.”

You held one out in open palm,
A shiny pearled seafood psalm.

I handed back an empty round,
It felt suspicious going down.

“Now the quince paste
And moustarda,
Charcuterie from the farmers market!”

Onward still, it came, the grub;
I grew queasy
Falling more in love.

“Skirt steak,
Chimichurri sauce,
Jicama and carrot slaw.”

Each breath shallower,
Growing unease
With every single consecutive wheeze.

Cradled in the tender throes,
Euphoric still as my throat closed.

Were it not for its briny kiss
I’d dodge this anaphylactic tryst.

Your eyes lovingly laden with fear
I shut mine as the ambulance neared.