Poem In Celebration Of A Thousand Sugary Kisses by Michelle McGrane
Behind, the bell chimes, the door closes on rue Royale and the frosty city.
The pâtisserie smells of almonds, caramel, vanilla, warm air trapped in choux and
shortcrust layers; memories of Pierre Éclair's childhood Rouen, his mother's flaky
croissants aux beurre, her pans of scallop-shaped Madeleines.
Charles Aznavour's 'Les Plaisirs Démodés' crackles through the vintage radio. Above
the till, the blackboard displays prices in smudged pink and white chalk next to
photographs of his wife and daughters.
Here, you can exhale, remove your gloves and scarf, take all the time you need
to choose your sticky cakes and viennoiseries: pain au chocolat, brioche à tête,
chausson aux pommes, tarte citron.
Linger over the macaroon tiers, the shelves of gleaming honey, quince and damson
jams, the stacks of mendicants and marron glacés.
M. Éclair knows all ills are eased by crème fraiche and ganache. If he could,
he would wrap the world in sweetness, dust the streets with icing sugar, marzipan
Michelle McGrane lives in Johannesburg and is a member of SA PEN. She blogs at http://peonymoon.wordpress.com/