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Joy by Patou

  by Laura Sobbott Ross


Instead of Maybelline

or a half dozen small brushes

flecked with dime store

powders and creams,


we discovered Joy.


A doll-sized bottle

even in a child’s fingers.

Its facets crooned at us, tangling

the bathroom’s fluorescent light.

A genie-and-three-wishes allure

too much for the delicate rim

to hold what flowed and flowered.  


It was still daylight when my brother

and I were sent to bed without supper,

or knowing that each ounce of Joy

was infused with 28 dozen Bulgarian roses

and 10,400 jasmine flowers, or that our mother,

who slept alone now with the baby,

had received it as a gift from our father.


Her grief, the spilled essence

of lush, heady blossoms

crushed into molecules of twilight.


Joy. That scent, that scent clinging

to our pillowcases, pungent as regret,

had already slipped beyond

the sheerest surfaces of her skin.










Laura Sobbott Ross is a freelance architectural designer. She was recently nominated for a 2008 Pushcart Prize, and has had poetry published in New Millennium Writings, The Arkansas Review, The White Pelican Review, Kalliope, The Caribbean Writer, and the Baker’s Dozen Literary Review, among several others. She will have poetry published in forthcoming editions of The Sows Ear Poetry Review and The William and Mary Review. She also won first place for poetry in contests for the 2006 Mount Dora, Florida Literary Festival and the Great Blue Beacon.