Making Pumpkin Pie in July with You by Stephanie Choi

                        After Frank O’Hara

is even better than making vegan pumpkin pie like I did last November
or filling my stomach with stone fruit samples at the embarcadero Saturday market 
partly because in your 19 year old you’re like raw almonds
partly because of my affection for you, partly because of your affection for the jetboil
partly because of the milky orange pumpkin filling the crust 
partly because of the quiet excitement we find in McDonald’s nuggets and Friendly’s ice cream
it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as ubiquitous 
as basic as sadly mass-produced as fast food when right in front of us 
in my 90 degree kitchen we are waiting like children in the ice cream truck line
for the oven timer to sing  its song for the finished pie. 

                                                                                                I take a bite of pie
with you and I would rather eat this than all the fresh picked stone fruit in the world
except possibly for pluots occasionally and anyways they’re in Tucson
which thank heavens you haven’t been there yet so we can go together for the first time
and the fact that you eat more or less so obliviously takes care of the City of Gastronomy designation
just as when we’re together in these New England woods I never think of the local apples or berries or
when we’re in the mountains, foraging for mushrooms which I used to want to become good at
and what good does this cultured taste for food do them 
when they could never taste the difference between Kraft cheese and artisanal New England cheese curds 
or for that matter the instagram foodies when they don’t document the meal as carefully 
as the restaurant they’re in

                                                        it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience 
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I’m telling you about it 

Stephanie Choi lives, works, and plays in Western Massachusetts. She is a proud graduate of the University of Arizona, where she studied English & Education, and led one of the nation’s largest student-run sustainability organizations. She’s published or forthcoming in Cosmonauts Avenue, New Ohio Review, Breakwater Review, and elsewhere. She enjoys baking vegan treats, running in cold weather, and slipping into shady bitch territory often.   

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.