“Rose Colored Glasses” © Amy Donnelly



I’m driving my dietary expert nuts
Well my future one when I can afford him
He keeps telling me to eat fruits and veggies
I tell him they taste too much like the men I loved
Long gone like ghosts on the tip of my tongue
He suggests juicing them or making a smoothie
Tells me that could take the bitterness off

See Tyler (That’s his name)
I’m used to drinking my own mistakes
With hard guilt paired with panic attacks
This seemed like a walk in the park
As I took my first sip from the frothy concoction
I had to recoil
It tasted like shit

Anyway here is where me and Tyler, the dietary expert,
Fall apart
A simple secret that I’m afraid would drive him off
From healthy eating and calorie counting to indulge
In Something we call in the bizz
Two tablespoons of sugar
The sucrose tickling my taste buds with love bites
I swear it turned the poison from wax to pleasure

Now Tyler
This might be hard to believe
The granulated goodness is everywhere
In stores, in bars, in coffee shops
This might be a scary thought
It’s even in your partner’s cabinet
Hell it’s perhaps in yours
If you search hard enough

See Sugar always had a special place
in my sweet heart
my grandmother, we’ll call her Mamainti
Humor my homesickness
Mamainti told us life was short and she knew
Because she lived it to the fullest
Don’t believe me?
Ask her in 1995

She’d tell you about the time
when she met the love of her life
Over a cheesecake date
When she went to Italy
The gelatos flirted with her
Telling her how beautiful she is
In Egypt and the kunafa
Were like fireworks in her palate
When she had grandchildren like me
She couldn’t help herself
But color our canvases
with candy and baglava

Mamainti was my sugar, and she had so much to give
Made sure we had our fill, we became almost too good to eat
At night we couldn’t wait for bedtime
We would flock to her room
First my brother would leave
Fled our darkened room
Then I would follow suit, fearing the loneliness he left for me
And the pop and gummy bears she hid under the bed
Promised us sweet memories

Mamainti had so much sugar she couldn’t contain it
Until the glucose ushered her off to cotton candy heavens
And what’s left is confectioners’ sugar memories
How she lent me her cane because I lost my wooden sword
So I could play in the garden
While watching me as she drank her pomegranate juice
I see Mammainti everytime I place a sugar cube into tea
And her face manifests
“Habibi Hayawi” Her smile fogging up my glasses

Mister dietary expert, hopefully your name is Tyler
Because that sounds like someone who’s health conscious
I promise to be good, I’ll do my cardio, I’ll pretend to like lifting
I’ll even drink your monstrosity recipes
Just please don’t make me quit sugar
Mamainti would be devastated if I did


Yehya Barakat is a Iraqi-born queer poet based in Boston MA. Yehya doesn’t want you to apologize for getting their name wrong but wants your tongue to learn their song. Having grown in Iraq, Yehya tackles the concept of war and family in their poems, but still have room in their works for a love poem for you. Yehya is a regular at the Boston Poetry Slam’s venue in the Cantab lounge. You can catch them talking about their favorite videogame or their cat, if not heart reacting you and your thoughts.

Amy Donnelly is based on Oahu Hawaii and works primarily in mixed media formats often incorporating acrylic paint, sea glass, wax and other materials. Ms. Donnelly also has a background as a librarian and completed her graduate work at Pratt Institute.