Juliana Gray

Vanille Abricot Comptoir Sud Pacifique

I’ve never been sweet, but two dabs

behind the ear, and I’m a sugar cookie,

a walking confection, light as vanilla meringue.


I strolled downtown, past a park where children

abandoned slides, tumbled like chimpanzees

from the jungle gym, begging their mothers for candy.


The ice cream parlors were mobbed for tutti frutti.

The bakeries sold out of snickerdoodles,

shortbread, ladyfingers, then barred their doors.


I had a craving, too, so stepped inside

a hipster bar.  The patrons’ nostrils flared;

they tossed their PBRs and ordered rounds


of craft cocktails with muddled apricot,

agave nectar, blood oranges,

vermouth and local cider.  Their jaws ached


for a taste of me.  One skinny boy

followed my trail, through the town gone mad

for sweetness, back to my cottage in the woods. 


He told me his name as I peeled away his jeans,

but I just called him Hansel.  The skinny boys

are all called Hansel, and they fatten up just fine.



“Vanille Abricot Comptoir Sud Pacifique” is from Honeymoon Palsy (Measure Press, 2017).