A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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March 2007, vol 3 no 1

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Colette Jonopulos

Inside the Bakery at 28; at 51

Sweet Life Patisserie, Eugene, OR, June 27, 2006

It doesn't happen like this: I tell the behind-the-pastry-case woman I read the newspaper article about her graduation, about her acceptance to the prestigious MFA program, and I mention the pieces of her poetry I've read. She offers me a free slice of raspberry cheesecake and I refuse.

The behind-the-pastry-case woman just graduated from the local university. After years of hard-assed street living, she's joined the ranks of the employed and educated. She's 28, on her way to somewhere, her shoulders back; serenity, I think, that's what I'm watching.

key lime tarts
almost fruit

At 28, I had my fifth (and last) child. There was no degree awarded, no proof I'd done it right; though everything that October was poetry, was new skin, eager mouth, see-through milk dripping from my nipple onto warm eager tongue.

It doesn't happen this way: the behind-the-pastry-case woman asks me if I've found a publisher for my poetry. She uses a wide chef's knife to slice that piece of raspberry cheesecake I'd refused, says it's on the house, she of all people knows what a poet's life is like.

What I didn't say, what she didn't ask–the almost-meeting of two poets–becomes me drinking strong coffee, tearing a dry scone into sections, her yelling out Who ordered cinnamon rolls?

purple fingers
blackberries eaten
off the vine