Wendy Barker Sour Take

Folks sure do love their sugar. Especially
_______at pot lucks with all those cookies, cup cakes,
_____________and cream pies, everyone saying, "Oh I really
shouldn't," then helping themselves
_______to more. How we crave peachy sweet lives,
_____________have another slice. "Sugar in the morning, /
Sugar in the evening," sang the McGuire
_______Sisters in 1958, as I was growing up on
_____________brownies, popsicles, ice cream, chocolate chip
cookies, Milky Ways. Years later, I'd
_______overload my Visa card following Julia Child's
_____________recipes, Charlotte Malakoff, Soufflé Rothschild, Tarte
Au Fromage Frais. What was dinner
_______for friends without a heavenly dessert? But no
_____________sugar for me these days—my blood sugar levels
soar, only to plummet, not into a fiery,
_______but a limp, paralyzed hell. In a restaurant,
_____________everyone begging me to order the chocolate
cream pie, the cheesecake, and they don't
_______get it when I say I really, really don't want
_____________even one slippery bite. Sugar highs, then sugar
lows. Reminds me of the low-down
_______on the history of sugar cane, a tropical grass
_____________Columbus brought to the Caribbean, where
slaves were shipped to bend their backs
_______down over the fields. In our own southern
_____________colonies, slaves would plant 5,000-8,000 seeds
to produce an acre of sugar, feeding
_______the sweet tooth of their masters, who craved
_____________their Red Velvet Cake, Ultimate Hummingbird
Cake, their Coconut Layer Cake. Sweets
_______for the sweet. Eight times more addictive
_____________than cocaine, sugar. And what about candies
folks love to suck on today? Milk Duds,
_______Malted Milk Balls, Raisinettes, and Sugar
_____________Babies: all coated with a glaze made from beetle
shit. May through November,
_______sugar cane leaves are burned off the stalks
_____________so harvesting takes less labor. More bang for
for the owners' bucks. Air so bad
_______people's lungs clog. Of course, I've
_____________got to admit, when my friend calls me "Sugar,"
and my man calls me his own
_______"Sweetie," I lap it up. "Be my little
_____________sugar, /And love me / All the time," sang
that famous trio of sisters. But since
_______I've the metabolism of a hummingbird,
_____________need fatty red meat to keep this body going,
I'd rather be somebody's protein,
_______sticking to the ribs, with staying power
_____________for a good long time. Yet I can't forget how
cattle are rounded up, prodded
_______onto trucks, run through chutes to have
_____________their throats cut, their bodies hung from
steel hooks and carved into pieces.

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