For the Love of Chocolate
Whenever she scored a 50-cent KitKat,
she’d tear & peel the wrapper back
as carefully as she would
undressing a burn wound
& ever so quietly, as she would
performing a secret surgery,
for the sound of candy being opened
was a sound her daughter knew—
like a K-9 knew the smell of marijuana
or a bloodhound knew the stench of expired flesh,
because she couldn’t teach her child
that sharing was good
if she didn’t do so
when the opportunity arose.
Rather than share,
she did her one better—
spending a whole buck-&-a-half
for that third KitKat,
so that that second KitKat
she kept hidden
in the deep bowels of her purse
in case of emergency
would be there.
Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 495
The Time Keeper
When the Time Keeper
saw her daughter’s hourglass,
its sand falling faster than her own,
she tipped it on its side–
stopping growth & change.
Though her child would live forever,
there would be no learning anything new,
even as this child who would be forever young
would see all those she had known as a little girl
grow old & go before her,
until there were none left,
& her memories of them would fade completely.
When the Time Keeper understood this,
in a last, unselfish act,
turned her daughter’s hourglass the opposite way it had been,
just as the last grain filtered through her own,
& the daughter,
who became the Time Saver–
for she no longer tracked time
but made the time one had stretch–
lived out the years that had been allotted to her mother.
Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 494
She kept a fake diary,
posted fictitious status updates,
& started outrageous rumors about herself–
all so no one would ever be able to answer the question:
Who was Jane Gault?
Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 493
The home is the child’s first school,
the parent is the child’s first teacher,
and reading is the child’s first subject.
Margaret Susan Got Married
When Miss Margaret Susan got married
& became Mrs. Peggy Sue,
she, who had been a cosmopolitan traveler,
became a domestic goddess,
defined & deified as such by her husband,
her conversation sparkling like the windows,
her cooking nourishing like the rain.
When she gave birth to Suzy & Margie,
she taught them all she had learned
from the days she had backpacked her way
through the lands of her lineage.
She read to them about all the places she’d been,
told them about all the places they’d go,
& what wasn’t in the books,
she could fill in.
She taught them that there was a time to travel,
a time to stay home,
& a time to bring home with her;
now was that time.
And when her husband saw her
under the Tuscan sun & the Parisian moon,
he saw her in a different light.
He saw that he had fallen in love with a woman
who wasn’t all she was because of him
but of all that had come before him.
Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 492
Surely, He Jests
having come from a long line
spouted a one-liner every 10 seconds,
which induced gag reflexes
in his uninitiated audiences,
putting them in a bad humor.
The only antidote to his anecdotes
was to dull his monkeyshines
by giving him a shiner–
right in the kisser–
which not only made everything swell
but gave new meaning to the word
Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 491
Comic strips are the most conservative medium–virtually unchanged from the 1920’s— Scott Dikkers, founder of The Onion, January 24, 2019
Children of the Corny
There were Saturday morning Looney Tunes
& Sunday color comic strips–
where you could be blown up in one scene
& put back together the next,
where Blondie never aged,
Beetle never wised up,
& Dolly, Billy, Jeffy, & P.J. remained children forever.
She traveled from The Twilight Zone
to The Far Side,
living in an alternate reality
where the spaciest (both outer & inner) scenarios
made perfect sense.
Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 490
John and Mary
Her lunchtime walks in Newbury Park
did not go unnoticed by the collegiate-clad young man
who watched her from his studio apartment,
sipping a chai latte on his balcony,
typing his thesis on his cell.
Every day, he saw the woman of his dreams
meeting the man of any woman’s dreams,
sharing a sandwich (never submarine)
but the diagonal kind made of shelf-stable bread and always served cold–
the stuff brown-bagged lunches were made of.
The man’s coffee was always hot,
no matter the season,
their wedding bands shining–
butter yellow in the spring,
starburst yellow in the summer,
pallid yellow in the fall.
Were they birds or bears,
going further south
or hibernating for the winter?
one frosty night that turned his cheeks cherub,
he saw the man and woman
reading side by side on a bench
in the public library–
He would learn that they had nowhere else to go,
for they could be there and not have to buy anything.
Then came the day that he no longer saw them
where kids used outside voices and books were free for a limited time,
where squirrels frolicked,
making arcs on the sidewalk,
where tables were set up with jigsaw puzzles
for the dodgy old men whose wives were dead or troublesome,
where the magenta buds of the crepe myrtles
hovered like feathers in the heat shimmer,
and where educated young mothers corralled their toddlers during storytime.
When he returned to college that last semester,
he saw the man and woman not as students
but as teachers–
teaching about the ideas and ideals
that had gotten them through
those long months of joblessness
that sometimes begat hopelessness
in a society that undervalued those
who wanted to do nothing more than teach.