sweet like limes


not always sweet like watermelon jolly ranchers / or that strawberry jam / stuck in your teeth / but it’s us / unabashed heat & hurricane feelings / & when we were young / we hadn’t realized just yet / that we’d really be magical

-from “when we were young”



"Life's both sweet and sour," sing The Sugarcubes, and Vanessa Maki's chapbook is a perfect illustration of that statement. In three sections, sweet like limes takes the reader on a journey through three different loves. These poems have the falling-in (love) and the fallings-out, the heartache and the joy. In sweet like limes, Vanessa shows us that life, and love, are both sweet and sour.


i know all too well what liquor does 


it’s a seductress, yes, but it makes it easier


to run down streets without fear of falling


to kiss total strangers that you may never see again


so we can’t ever say the liquor made us do it 


all we can say is that it helped us do it

-from “2015/2017

Praise for sweet like limes

Vanessa Maki’s sweet like limes is hard candy for the heartbroken. Vanessa carefully weaves vivid imagery and metaphors, like “fire-like warmth / fuzzy peaches against my skin,” as she chronicles the stories of three different loves. These tales traverse from the soft, dreamlike, blissful beginnings of love, to the tumult and sadness of falling apart, to the lasting pain of time spent away from one another. Vanessa aims for the heartstrings and doesn’t let go as she writes, “you never promised sunshine / yet I was still so damn wasted / on the possibility of it.” Thrumming with aching, all-consuming longing, sweet like limes is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever fallen in— and out of— love.

Wanda Deglane, author of Venus in Bloom and Bittersweet.


In this chapbook, Vanessa Maki showcases her most devastating poems in a hauntingly cohesive manner. This book is for unrequited lovers and those who feel burdened by the past. Take a trip down memory lane and revisit heartache in sweet like limes. With musical homages to Phoebe Bridgers, Frank Ocean, and others — this collection is as stunning as it is intense.

Venus Davis, Poet and editor


honest and brave. vanessa takes the reader on a cool whirlwind of personal romances. it is sweet but it stings, bringing the truth to the surface the way salt stings on a fresh wound.

—Kaliane Faye, author of the bitter end