Summer Sonnet of Sweet and Sour
by Jennifer Schomburg Kanke

A box of Lemonheads was ten cents,
cherry Ring Pops cost a quarter,
after the initial sweetness was gone,
I’d chip away at the sour layer with my nail
until I could take it again.
Norm’s Market was cheaper,
but they wouldn’t let kids in wet,
we weren’t supposed to leave the pool anyway.
The boys, not much on swimming,
would sneak away to Norm’s or Jake’s Comics
after we’d been dropped off on Mom’s lunch break.
I tried to not go in, to stay dry for once,
but who can resist the smell of chlorine
when you’re already in your suit?

PHOTO: : The author  and her parents, Roosevelt Lake, Shawnee State Forest, West Portsmouth, Ohio, 1980.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: One poem always seems to lead to another. I wrote a poem about my brother going away to the Navy, which brought up lots of other memories about my brother like the one in this poem. Then this one lead to another one about my mom giving up her lunch break to come back and take us to the pool, a sacrifice that I really didn’t understand until I wrote this poem about being at the pool.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Schomburg Kanke grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and currently lives in Tallahassee, Florida, where she teaches creative writing and critical theory at Florida State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, and Nimrod.