Grumpy's gas station
i would rub the dust
off candy from Grumpy's gas station.
smudge of grey on my black karate pants.
inside the little store were
marchs of candy bars
and gummies left untouched
for several junes. i ate my way
through their stock. hard chewy
gummy rope & softened murky chocolates.
the slushie contraptions
spun like sugar washing machines.
i was ten years old & i would eat
anything i wanted. my fingernails
had dirt underneath. freckles hiked
across my face like ants.
i prided myself in how well
how well i could punch my dad's open hand
at practice. i craved the look on his face
when i sparred & won against boys.
how long have wanted to be his son?
dad & i stopped there at Grumpy's
on our way back from the dojo.
i passed him some of me Mike & Ikes
& juju bees & Sugar Daddies
from the passenger seat
of his rusty blue jeep. we both
put several candies in our mouths
at once. we talked as we ate,
the sugar seeping into our bodies.
dirt & dust still on the wrappers,
we joked about how long we thought
the candy sat there before we devoured it.
dad said maybe three years
& i guessed three decades & dad laughed
& laughed. corn fields unfolded around us.
tall green Pennsylvania summer.
i swallowed the last of the candies
& crumpled the box in my paw.
fireflies would blink outside
like angel telegraphs above
& between the corn.
we road the rest of the way
my arm dangling out the window
like an oar.