He gave me a spruce lap desk
for writing in bed that Christmas.
It was rubbed into fragrance with oil of almond
and to lift the slanted top was to fall
into reveries with pens and the child’s
delight in things unused. But it lay heavily
against my knees, as if a lid had closed
down on me. It saddened him, I know, to see
how seldom I used it. Some gifts are sent
only to haunt. Now he’s gone
how lightly it rests the length of my thighs, and
lightly does my pen move the heavy words
under the downcast lids.