“Aise de Mayon” by Sharon Olds

Aise de Mayon

I didn’t know that mayonnaise
was invented in Mayon, France — France as in
Paris, France! I had no idear
it came from Mayon, I had learned to say
idear in the New England boarding school
our mother sent us to — those girls so
polite, so smart. Unlike and like
Gary Soto, I had thought by god I was
done for — but your tongue knows what it likes,
egg yolk, and white, beaten to
a pulp while the golden corn oil was
dripped in,
drop by drop,
till even a girl from Joke, California had a
chance with a beautiful sweet boy
whose grandfather was a famous upper-class
thief. Doesn’t a young woman,
when a sweet young man has his hands on her,
know his character, when he says,
Not till we’re married. Who ever imagined
he would fall asleep at the wheel, Easter
Morning. None of the other freshmen
were hurt, and this golden boy I loved for
how many weeks was killed. He had taken me to
Hamburger Heaven, on what I believe was our
first, and our engagement, date —
who had ever said, “Until
we’re married,” with his hand on my breast.
He thought I was so risqué, to put
Hellman’s and butter on my heaven hamburger,
I think he had
not dated anyone
outside the first few %, before, and he was
ready, and I tasted a sweetness, a non-
egotist goodness that from then on I would
desire so much I would see it when it wasn’t even there.


Sharon Olds, 1942–

© 2023 Sharon Olds
“Aise de Mayon” first published in the NYTimes

Photo by amirali mirhashemian on Unsplash

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