C’est La Vie Sucre

The Empress Josephine had all the pearls
that a woman could want around her neck,
wealth envied by ladies and dukes and earls,
like the treasure from a galleon wreck,
yet below-deck, behind her crimson mouth,
the sugarcane sweets from her hometown isle
on Martinique, down in the Carib South,
had rotted her teeth brown behind her smile—
brown like molasses, and no pearls could hide
the oyster-halitosis in her quips,
for though the empire fetched pearls far and wide,
she had no pearls within her foul clam lips.