No Substitute

Alan King

Yes, sweetheart, I stopped guzzling Sierra Mist.
And, I no longer eye a sausage and pepperoni pizza
as if it was a Turkish spice market, as if grease
and cheese mimicked a Hawaiian sunset.

Under heat lamps, the glazed toppings
tempt my tongue. OK, OK, of course I know
my veins and arteries are the blood’s highways
and interstates, that too much of what I love
will slow traffic like an accident.

Those spicy wings mobbed with fries,
the strawberry shortcake, and that apple pie
with syrup and ice cream will be the death of me.

But see my point—walnuts and
dried fruit are no substitute. Tell me, baby,
should we starve desire?

Last updated September 27, 2022