Hot House Grapes

by Melanie Romero

you painted my face with rose

water and honeydew

juice, pressed little kisses

to my brow and brushed away

the last salty tear, left me lying

in the overgrown grass


the summer sun was warm

against my skin: a soft pink

glow, a tangerine orb, gleaming

over my shuttered

eyelids and pursed lips


the ants crawled over my ivory

flesh until i was a toile

pattern dish, a decorative piece,

meant to be touched and caressed

lightly with the fear of being

broken under too much weight


you came back only

to bribe me with

honeyed words, golden

stuccor clinging to them, but

don’t you know too much

sweetness gluts the stomach?


eventually even the scavenging ants

left me in my cloying wake,

in orderly lines, like

scurrying watermelon seeds,

falling into the earth below


but i had not left myself

to rot there in the weeds

like a forgotten apple core,

like crumbs after a picnic,

just to wait for your return


instead, i let the stickiness

preserve my skin, waited

until it glazed over,

so i could leave once

the sugar met my lips