Saturday, October 20, 2012


by Juliet Bond (who was Juliet Bottger at age twenty)

The Canterbury Chemist is dull.
An orange popsicle melts in the snow, very slowly.
I pilfer armfuls of scents, bars of soap, 
and a light green bath gel that smells like avocado.
(Today, a lone bottle of perfume sits on my daughter’s shelf,
with a crust of yellow liquid clinging to the bottom of the etched glass.)
In May, I wait for the spring green to bring my friends back.
We rent a two bedroom apartment, 
throw a futon on the floor, fill the fridge with Tombstone pizzas, 
and tape In the Night Kitchen on the wall.
Below, a baby cries.
Tempers rise through the heat.
I flip the Stratego board and use the last maxi pad.
The leaves explode in rusty lace patterns.
I've stopped singing and summer ends.
My next distant land is a brick building surrounded by cornfields.
A gauzy Indian print throws shades of purple across the bottom bunk.
The room mate assigned to me asks me to lie to her parents if they call,
she will be living with her boyfriend.
Outside my window, groups of girls sing, “Kappa Gamma KKG, Kappa Gamma KKG!”
At Lincoln Hall, I eat my meals alone in the basement cafeteria,
bringing cereal and milk to my tiny refrigerator for company.
A war begins.
By the time the sky weeps snow, I’m in Paris, 
where the morning streets really are cobblestone, 
between buildings with quaint silver balconies. 
At the Palais Garnier, the patrons hop seats to get a better view.
I hike up my black, silk dress and throw a leg over the wooden chairs,
eat crepes and gooey chocolate croissants while standing under a grey sun,
sleep as the Eurail shuttles me to Milan, 
where a boy gasps as I walk past, and the pizza tastes bland. 
Across the street from a Salzburg pastry shop filled with Mozart, 
I visit the cathedral where Maria was married.
Christmas, lights up Vienna. 
Pink milk is sweet in Budapest but the pizza is still bad, 
and I can't read the labels at the pharmacy in Versailles.
When it’s time to go, I curl against my boyfriend’s long and slender body and say goodbye.
I blow away.
Back in the states, I still have no idea who I want to be.

Author in the center



  1. Beautifully written! I was beside you the whole time. Thanks for the ride!

  2. You can ride with me anytime :)

  3. I love your ability to bring me along, too. The smells, the tastes... Oh to be a gypsy again. It all sounds so romantic but in the comfort of my stretchy pants, I know it can only be recaptured on paper.
    Well done, J!

    1. Thanks lovey - this one isn't a favorite of mine but it has been fun to go down memory lane this month.

  4. Wow! I wasn't expecting to go down this lane. You brought back some crazy memories for me! What a summer that was. thanks for sharing.

    1. I'm so glad you forgave me for stealing that last pad. Joe still holds a grudge against me for the Stratego game though ;)

  5. I loved your memories. I used to be a migrant chemist, but that's hardly a gypsy.

  6. Thanks, Ann. I think if you've moved around a lot, experienced things that help you grow, that you are being a gypsy, right? Did you experience that as a migrant chemist :) ?