penny candy
Penny Candy
by Leslie Sittner

Rows of pastel colored dots stuck to strips of white paper,
Tubes of pastel colored Necco wafers,
Cardboard packs of candy cigarettes,
Necklaces of sugar beads.

Mom says all the sugar will rot our teeth.

Chocolaty Charleston Chews,
Bright red chewy strawberry disks,
Turkish taffy and Caramel Creams,
Rainbow gummy bears.

Mom says they’ll pull our fillings out.

Red wax lips,
Black wax mustaches,
White wax teeth with fangs,
Mini wax bottles of colored sugar water.

Mom says, “Eating wax? Are you crazy?”

Still, she gives my brother and me ten pennies each
Every Tuesday and Thursday
To splurge at the penny candy store
Before we go into the Turnverein for gym class.

Mom says the exercise is good for us.


AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This is a double exposure of my brother and me cooling off in tubs of water circa 1952. He’s lounging comfortably while enjoying a black licorice cigar.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Leslie Sittner, born in 1945 in upstate New York, is a creative nonfiction writer just finding her voice. This is her first-ever poem. She’s pleased to say her teeth are still sturdy, her few fillings are intact, and her crazy bits are probably not related to eating wax.