During the war, my grandmother
sent springerle to American soldiers
in Germany. They could survive the trip,
their cookie lifespan equal to three hundred
human years. Two days to beat, to chill,
to roll, to stamp, to bake their powdered sugar,
flour, and eggs. A wooden mold—six pictures
carved by my great-grandfather in Dresden
that she explained: Fish for faith, Deer for Christ,
Cherries for love, Rose for the seal of Luther,
Bell to announce His coming, Castle to enter
the world beyond.

But I thought of them only as cookies
we made in December. Each cookie neatly placed
on a sheet sprinkled with anise. Before they went
into the oven, imprinted dough was left to dry
uncovered overnight. Atop our piano, pale squares
aligned like cemetery rows.

Published in Hawai'i Pacific Review