Slip into your silks and satins, your high powdered poufs, your diamonds and tulle. Rouge your cheeks, flutter your fans. Today, a deliciously decadent slice of Marie Antoinette courtesy of Northern New York-based poet Christie Grimes.
I first tasted Christie’s sensual, sensory rich poem in the recently published food anthology, Joys of the Table: An Anthology of Culinary Verse (Richer Resources, 2015). Sweets are often considered a self-indulgent extravagance, and I like how the flavors of Christie’s images are enhanced with a subtle subtext of 18th century notes. How fine the line between berries and blood!
MARIE ANTOINETTE OPENS A PASTRY SHOP IN PARIS
by Christie Grimes
She calls it simply Marie’s,
fills her large store front window
with red velvet cupcakes,
raspberry crescents, cherry turnovers,
loves the clash between sweet and tart
the way it cleaves her tongue in two
seems like it will linger forever
but in a moment,
just the time it takes to blink
it is gone.
Only the remnant
of a seed
or the soft jelly coating
People come through the door
ask for coconut crèmes,
flourless chocolate torts,
but she refuses to supply them.
“Eat these cakes I have made,” she tells them
as she waves her hand at the window.
There are strawberry preserve cookies,
boysenberry crepes and cranberry blintzes.
She can’t help it.
She loves working the red fruit between her hands,
the way the juices stain her cuticle beds,
deepen the creases of her palms.
When she is baking,
she licks the spoons and spatulas
sucks on her fingertips,
savors the smooth syrup of the crushed berries,
the way they pop in her mouth
or burst under her fork,
darken the side of her bowl.
And, after they are all in the oven,
as she scoops the batter into her mouth
she always runs the edge of the spoon along her lip
indulging in the short slide of steel.
~ Posted by permission of the author, copyright © 2015 Christie Grimes. All rights reserved.