Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Broad Street

Silver dimes and quarters
carried in a chubby fist,
metal ridges rubbing against my palm.
Maybe Mom gave them to me for cleaning my room,
or she handed them to me to get me out of her hair
or I found a coin glittering on the sidewalk,
the child’s version of a lottery win.
I walked four blocks to the pharmacy,
all by myself because it was the ‘80s.
I was only interested in the candy aisle, of course.
The rows of chocolate bars—krispies and caramel
and nougat and almonds—
too expensive for my allowance.
The candy cigarettes, with their aura of sin,
but not much flavor.
Bubblegum with jokes printed on the wrappers,
only a fleeting pleasure.
So I would choose the Jolly Ranchers,
sour, long-lasting, just a quarter for the long sticks,
a dime for the smaller pieces.
Cherry, watermelon, grape,
but I’d always choose the green apple,
if I could get it.
It would dissolve into nothing in my mouth,
and I drank down the sugary acidic juice with pleasure,
even as the candy itself
sharpened itself into a point
that scraped against my tongue.

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