toasted marshmallows
Toasting Marshmallows
by Martin Willitts Jr

There is an art to toasting a marshmallow
over a sullen campfire, crackling with green twigs,
as the moon shifts over the coals.

First you need the perfect stick to stab into
the marshmallow. It has to be long enough
to hold over flame and sparks shooting in air.

You have to turn the stick as the marshmallow
spins in a tight axis. It will start sagging
this way and that. Don’t let it droop

or it will fall into the fire. You can’t eat that.
You let it brown. This hardens it
so it is less likely to fall. Don’t let it flame.

Holding to close or too long will do that.
Be careful touching it. It retains heat like a lover.
If you tug, it might cling to the stick and fingers.

I once shared a toasted marshmallow with a girlfriend,
like the part in Lady and the Tramp,
only it was gooey and our lips stuck.

IMAGE: “Toasted Marshmallows” by Elena Elisseeva. Prints available at

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: There is nothing to say about this poem: a boy, a girl, a marshmallow. I do not know how old I was, but I was a sly little guy.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Martin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian. His poems have appeared in several of the Silver Birch series, as well Blue Fifth Review, Turtle Island Quarterly, Comstock Review, Kentucky Review, and others. He has eight full-length collections and over 20 chapbooks. His most recent collection is Before Anything, There Was Mystery (Flutter Press, 2014), and Irises, the Lightning Conductor For Van Gogh’s Illness (Aldrich Press, 2014), and Late All Night Sessions with Charlie “the Bird” Parker and the Members of Birdland, in Take-Three (A Kind Of a Hurricane Press, 2015).