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Turrón duro San Andrés (Nougat with almonds)

You greeted me in English on the phone.
At the gate I saw that you had come alone.
In Spanish you half-embraced me with a kiss,
a tradition you preferred once to dismiss.
What inspired you to greet me so concretely,
O my half-imaginary friend? Discretely
I smiled, longing to linger still, somehow
to cement our friendship there and then, allow
nearness to set and damp the volatile.

You brought us a bar of turrón duro. While
the wine passed, I asked about where you went.
We were interrupted by something. You bent
forward again, you remained silent. Your eyes
were lifted to mine and held steady. Flies,
bending their elbows, their little hands clasped,
resembled you then: that stillness never grasped.
You began again. I saw between us, between
our chairs, the thin image, white, brown, blue, green,
of an ice-field, the pampas, a dark mountainside.
I saw an erupting volcano and your knee colide.

The talk drifted. Bored, impulsively you left.
Again we kissed our kisses without heft.

We're enjoying your turrón duro San Andrés.
It fascinates. Look, let your fingertips trace
the surface. Attend to the sheen of flanks
set in burbles and billows, sliced river banks,
cloud-banks; opaline formations, ice over snow.
Imagine the sticky, glacial, oozing flow,
now settled between two wafers, tensely sat.
Contrast the snapped edge, small-angled, flat,
rough as a moth spotted by tawny almond.
It is ice-field scree, it is a pale-fawn monad.
Do you remember, it's the same colours I wore
to lunch with you at a pub the year before
I married. Do you remember the night we met?
You have not spoke like that again, not yet.

Meredith Root-Bernstein is finishing a masters degree in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management at Oxford University, UK and starting a PhD in Ecology at the Universidad Catolica in Santiago, Chile. She has previously published poetry in the Nassau Weekly and Times Literary Supplement, and has a poem forthcoming in the New Yorker. She is interested in art-science interactions and in pursuing interdisciplinary approaches to environmental and conservation issues. Meredith grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, USA.