Guest Poetry

Jonathan LaForce gave me permission to post the poem I mentioned last week in it’s entirety for your reading pleasure. I think I can safely say this is one of, if not the, best modern poems I have had the pleasure to encounter. I’m tickled to reveal it in public for the first time, and please, let him know in the comments if you liked it!


A Tart Mistress

I know he’s home, I can hear his keys
Jangling against the door, the lock.
I know he’ll have roses
Red, yellow, a spray of baby’s breath
Exactly like my wedding bouquet.
He has a good memory for that.
He knows what I like.

He’s trying to be sneaky right now.
Slipping off his shoes to make less noise
As he creeps and peeps around the house
Wondering where I am.
Oh my husband, you are not the only one
Who likes to keep a secret or two.

You see, I know your guilty pleasure now;
One of my girlfriends told me about it.
She came over and confessed after you left
Three weeks ago on business.
She caught you, down at her place.
Sampling the wares, happy as a lark in a tree.
When the clerk asked why you ate there
And why not take one home
You replied with a look
“My wife can’t bake,
I don’t have the heart to tell her,
That I hate what she makes,
And how badly I’d just like a good cupcake.”

Can we speak of revelation most damning?
I expected a girlfriend, a lover, a whore on the side
But cupcakes? A mere sugary confection?
That was the mistress you traded for me?
I ranted, I raved, I cried most furiously!
But then Cara explained, quite gently
That perhaps all hope was not lost
“He’s gone for three weeks,
Surely you can figure some thing out.”

I can hear your footsteps, stopping on the tile
As you pause and sniff the air
Like some great, tan, muscular wolf
Sniffing a scent that inspires the hunt
You’re curious now.
Yes, yes come into my kitchen oh husband of mine.

With Sara for my Polaris and Paula to the South
I navigated the awful deep all alone.
Couldn’t, wouldn’t ask Cara for help.
I had to do this. Needed to do this.
Needed you back in my domain once more,
Where you properly belong.

I slaved away at the oven, day after day.
Burnt offerings? Ha! Damned offerings more like it!
Half-cooked concoctions still raw.
Thrown to the neighbors’ chihuahua without pause.
Runny frosting smeared everywhere.

City firemen knew me by name
And kept a wary eye for the telltale signal
Of another day’s venture
Through those dangerous depths.
But finally one night, amidst the disaster
Land was sighted, most glorious news!
The first batch to turn out right
I celebrated with joyous glee!
They even frosted up perfectly
And I became a hit at the PTA meeting.

Your shadow is on the far wall,
Bouquet behind your back,
As you inch forward, hoping so much
Wondering if you’ve been deceived.
Come closer my dearest husband,
See what I have wrought…

Then you’re there, tall, dark and handsome
In your fitted pinstripe three-piece suit,
Looking like a deer in headlights.
And I can’t tell whether if it’s the sight of me
In pearls, tall wedge heels and an apron,
Curled hair falling down my bare back;
Or is it the platter of miniature cupcakes I’m holding?
Chocolate, red velvet, white, yellow, pumpkin.
Nuts, sprinkles, coconut, a bonanza of toppings,
And a baker’s dozen of flavored frostings.
Silence prevails.

You’re timid now as you approach.
“How did you know?” You ask.
So quietly! The wolf is a puppy dog now!
“Great wives know everything” I reply regally.
Reaching out with a very unsteady hand,
You take a lemony concoction.
“Blond and fair just like you” you tell me
With a knowing smirk.
That first, cautious nibble, delightful surprise.
A second bite, a bigger bite, more eager than the first.
You gobble it up entirely,
White frosting covers your lips, nose, cheeks.
“May I have another?” You almost beg me.
And who am I to deny you the pleasure?

One by one, till they’re all consumed
And I am pleased beyond measure.
You eat them up, on your knees in front of me
A supplicant worshipping his goddess.
Frosting now covers your face.
I wipe a streak away with one manicured nail
Then lick it off between two red-painted lips.
The same shade as your corvette,
And the bra I’m not wearing,
Haven’t been since I heard your keys at the door.

My roses lie on the floor, forgotten
Just like that first time, on our wedding night,
When you taught me gentleness, passion, love.
Now though, I’m backed up against a countertop
And you’re on your knees to teach me
Desire, fulfillment, reward and thanks.
You do it with that expert tongue I never knew you had
As you consume yet another lemony concoction,
And I do as Def Leppard suggest:
Pour my sugar all over you.

— Jonathan LaForce