My Grandma’s cookies are better than your grandma’s cookies
Somehow crunchy enough your jaw feels that
Satisfying tremor of ice crackling under warm breath
But chewy enough that pieces stick to teeth and memory
An enduring taste
Brown sugar on the brink of burnt
As if baked at the edge of a volcanic eruption
Air-lifted just in time for perfection

Rather than dough-balls left to the oven’s tepid hands
Not longer than 4 inches
A shape most unlike your grandma’s cookies
Each hand-sliced with architect precision
And dazzled with sprinkles
Pink and translucent
A scattering of gem-rock
Upon the landscape of homemade desire
A farouche command
That forces all other cookie-makers to kitchen tile
So they may howl like slaves to a thunderous Hera
“You are the alpha. You are the confectionery-omega!”

The sprinkles used to be pink
But over the last couple years
My grandma’s choice in decoration has changed
To a showering in rainbow orbs
I haven’t asked my grandma why she made the switch
Maybe she got bored with the same old
Or decided she liked rainbow sprinkles better
I like to think it was an act with purpose
A statement on contemporary politics
Or an existential kick in the face
That can only be understood when the moon is full
And the blue and white sprinkles align…
I’m okay to leave this one a mystery

In truth
Cookies are not part of my menu
But my Grandma could always count on me
Devouring every last crumb from those Tupperware containers
An offering of consumption as if to
Present my appreciation
That every moment spent together
Has been treasured
Which in part is why this latest batch of cookies
Is especially unique

Grandma has started talking about death a lot
She’s outlined the things she wants to be present at before she passes
“Your brother Josh’s graduation,” she says
“Oh, and your brother Max’s graduation.”
But after that, she says
That’s all she needs

I can’t say I’m unhappy to hear this
She’s convinced me that she’s lived a full and rewarding life
So death is only a quiet and brave march into inevitability
Onto whatever sense of peace or
Oneness there is out there
Grandma knows everything must rest
And for that, I’m happy for her
I’m at the point in my life
I recognize all that my grandma has done for me
And want to do anything I can to provide for her
Being happy for her seems like the least I can do
The thought of her not being here
Not receiving her apologetic phone calls
For “waking me” at 10am
Not being reminded that
Canasta still exists and people actually play it regularly in Long Boat Keys
Not having the opportunity to walk into her view
And know that I’ve made her day
Pinches my throat
And pauses my life

“This is the last batch I’ll ever make for you,” she says to me
As she passes over these cookies before me
She always surprises me with cookies
But this came as a surprise
“It hurts too much to stand up and make them,” she explains
“So, enjoy them.”

As I nibble
Thinking of how my Grandma
Carefully baked these cookies from scratch
And how we
My brothers and I
Are much like those cookies of hers
I wonder if I can bring myself to
Finish every last bite as usual

Perhaps this time
I’ll leave one or two pieces
Let them turn to stale, undead cookies in some landfill
So that I know
Somewhere out there
In some form or another
There’s a piece of her
Something that she’s touched
Something that she’s created
A magnet on my refrigerator that says
“I will always love you.”

As I reach beside myself
Probing the plastic for another piece of her memory
I realize I have already eaten every last bite
For a moment I am disappointed
My plans to have her live on through the remains
Of her own creation are foiled by my apparent hunger for sweetness
But soon
While my eyes tear up
And I muster a proud frown
I realize that it is not the pieces of
What you leave behind that matter
But who