Theobroma Cacao

I place four dark brown hearts on the table,
devour them one by one. They are gone too fast

and I'm still lonely. Some things
can't be sweetened:

as a child I fed my brother raw cocoa
just to watch his face collapse.

He still remembers. A sister's love:
the shock you don't recover from.

Xocoatl laced with lime and chili:
priests with blood-clotted hair

drank as they flung beating hearts to the sun god,
kicked bodies down the pyramid steps.

Blood dries thick, first russet, then umber;
indelible. It anchors the sun in

bitter black seeds. Some things
shouldn't be sweetened -

like that hot brew you gave me
this morning, my love

topped with foam flowing over the lip
of my porcelain cup.


Erica Goss won the 2011 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Contest. Her chapbook, Wild Place, was published in 2012 by Finishing Line Press. Her work appears in Lake Effect, Passager, Wild Violet, and Comstock Review, among others. She teaches writing and humanities and is a contributing editor for Cerise Press.