She wore a muu-muu when she came home
and brought us pineapples, prickly and impossible.
So much work to retrieve all that sweetness.
I wanted the sticky sweet moist of pineapple
upside-down cake. The perfect circles
of pineapple, dotted with bright red cherries,
the red of my grandmother’s lipstick. She never
left the house without her lipstick. I didn’t understand
why she needed make up at the grocery store.
Her mouth looked like candy. I wanted to kiss it.
But her kisses weren’t sweet like the bowl of candies
she kept on the coffee table. I tried to save them for sucking
but greedily bit down hard and gobbled them up,
wanting the sugar to fill that dark place in my belly,
the one that kept me awake at night, dreaming of pineapple
upside-down cake. I liked swinging upside down
on the monkey bars and loved to feel the blood rush to my head.
I wanted all the sugar to fall to a peak like that, when
my grandmother turned the cake out of the pan. I wanted to spoon
it, pure sweet, into my small mouth.