This gourmet chocolate is prepared especially for you
On a cocoa plantation on the Ivory Coast they used to call the Coast of Teeth,
a small boy dreams of dreaming.
by master chocolatiers who demand nothing less than perfection,
He can’t sleep for the welts on his back, but if he could, he would dream
into perfection a stampeding herd of chocolate elephants.
selecting the highest quality cocoa beans, balancing intense and elegant flavors.
He balances on his head bags of cocoa beans taller than he is
and waits for his daily ration of corn paste.
Experience the ultimate union of force and finesse, the finest textures,
In Mali, the master promised him a bicycle, but on the Coast of Teeth,
he got a bicycle chain etching a message in raised pink characters on his back.
intense and elegant flavors of silky smooth dark chocolate and hand harvested Fleur de Sel sea
At night, sea salt flowers blooming behind his eyes, he reads the messages on the other
They all say, Go Home.
Ellen Estilai, formerly executive director of the Riverside Arts Council and the Arts Council for San Bernardino County, has taught in universities in Iran and California. Her essay “Front Yard Fruit,” originally published in Alimentum, is included in New California Writing 2011 and was selected as a notable essay in The Best American Essays 2011. A Pushcart and Orison prize nominee, she has published in Phantom Seed; Broad!; Snapdragon; Ink & Letters; Heron Tree; (In)Visible Memoirs 2; HOME: Tall Grass Writers Guild Anthology; and Shark Reef, among others. Ellen is a founding board member and past-president of the Inlandia Institute, a literary center based in Riverside, California.