What I Want to Make for You

What I Want to Make for You

First I’ll find two pears,
green speckled with yellow,
the color of locust trees in May,
two specimens that yield
to slight pressure from my thumb.
They’ll sit in the sun, next to an apple
whose ethylene breath will ripen them more,
to the point where even the faintest touch
would bruise them. Then I’ll spread out
several leaves of phyllo, sweet
buttering each one with a sable brush,
between whose sheets I’ll slip
toasted, slivered, blanched almonds.
I’ll cut the pastry into hearts
one for each of us, baking until crisp —
not long — in the hot oven waiting.
You haven’t forgotten the pears?
My knife is so sharp it won’t hurt
when I peel and slice them.
More sweet butter and sugar sizzle
in a pan, plus heavy cream,
unctuous, languid, sleepy,
and the pears with some eau de vie,
then a rapid simmer.
Now the assemblage:
One nutty heart on bottom,
soft, sautéed pears in the middle,
another fragile heart on top.
A pool of glossy caramel cream,
also on my fingers, with which I offer you
ce mille feuille croquant de poire
au caramel.

Natasha Sajé

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