you feed me a soft
           poached farm egg
crusted in panko
           the yolk explodes
over my tongue
           a grown-up gusher

you serve me to
           buttered goods:
sweet potato brownies
           heapings of lobster mac and cheese
soups with much too much cream

i cannot help that all
           i want to taste and drink
is the saltiness of your throat
           dirtiness of your fingers
i’d knead each of one
           according to the box
then marinate in kimchee

you’re a molten chocolate cake
           a la mode
oozing warmth
           and spitting coldness
(though you do not deserve my sincerity
           or the pies i make
with nutella and whipped cream
           to excite your taste buds only.
or when i wish to spoil you
           and make hazelnut paste
from my mortar and pestle
           finely ground by floured hands.
i am saccharine but not maudlin).

i’m a trifle
           of zabaglione and blueberries
that stain your mouth
           (though you may believe
i am a casserole
           you can freeze and thaw later
without getting burned
           or a koulibiaca you can conquer
without so much as prep work)

you may roll your eyes
           back into their sockets
as you peel me from my layers:
           strawberries and mascarpone frosting
toasted coconut flakes
           Tahitian vanilla syrup

delight yourself
           in your pousse-café
while you blind taste test
           this dalliance

LILLY DENG’s recent and forthcoming work can be found in the North American Review, River Oak Review, South Carolina Review, Willow Review, and elsewhere.