What We Save For Last

by Terence Young

The maraschino cherry, the olive,
dessert, always,
the work we can’t bear, but sometimes
the work we love.
Our apologies, until the moment
they are meaningless,
as well as confessions
to our dying parents,
who offer theirs in return.
Thinning the carrots
because it’s just too tedious,
and joy because we don’t
deserve it. No gain without pain,
so pain first
without exception,
as in all those years of school and work
until we say enough is enough,
give us our treat, our brief
before what we’ve saved ourselves
from thinking about
astonishes us,
the way our grandson does
when he hides in plain sight,
crying surprise, surprise,
and for a moment
we convince ourselves
we are.

— from Juniper Volume 1, Issue 2