Ode to the discontinued dessert menu (2012)

The Taco Bell on East Colonial had the air of danger
my classmates understood through marijuana smoke
and unsafe sex; if my mother knew I had driven there
instead of after-school knitting club, feeding my girlfriend
a grilled stuft burrito, playing “Cards Against Humanity,”

she would have sold my bribery-car much sooner,
taken my phone and placed it in her top dresser drawer.
Perhaps this understanding made it all the better,
the same way I sought out big windows and engaged audiences–
God bless my daring spirit, may she rest in peace.

To be 17 and hungry enough for the thrill
of the short-lived Taco Bell dessert menu–
I ordered one of each, the sugar crash exquisite-
ly illicit enough to placate my self-destruct button
for just a few more years.

Selena Cotte is a writer of all trades living in Chicago and eating an AM Crunchwrap. Her poetry has previously been published in Columbia Poetry Review and The Lab Review; her journalistic work in Electrical Apparatus magazine, where she is managing editor. She is originally from Orlando, where Taco Bell is the closest restaurant to her parents’ home. This location was the first place she was allowed to drive to by herself. As she lives in the Windy City now, she no longer drives at all.

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