That evening, he plucked zucchini flowers.
The shriveled braids of saffron petals
lined the counter, where one by one
he peeled them back, scooped their stamens,
and plunged them headlong into batter—
then eased a batch into eager oil,
which smoked and sputtered as the blossoms bobbed.
Unraveling the largest flower—
green-veined, plump—he neatly undressed
a honey bee, aroused and confused
by this sudden fiat in a stranger garden.
With a preparatory flick and hum,
the tuneless rattle of onion-skin wings,
it wafted off in drunken loops
and ticked against the windowpanes.
The oil hissed and spat its tacks.
He stopped to sip the breathing wine—
remembering, of course, to level the glasses
drop for drop before she returned.