Peddling Sweets in the Back Bay
By Sabrina Hicks

I wasn’t allowed to spend the summer
in town, wandering the deluge of low tide
and cotton candy, carousels and stoners, so
I lied about my age and got a job.

I made cookies and ate hunks of dough,
drank from the soda fountain, told friends
to come for free samples but not if they saw
my boss, throwing around his bangs and

shuffling in his flip-flops. He lied about
his age, too, though he made himself
younger. A few weeks after work, he got
stoned and passed me a joint. I came clean

I was only 15. Close enough he said.
He told me I was pretty. I told him I had
two older brothers and a mean streak
and it was best if he just f**ked off.

He left me alone after that to scoop dough
in the back room. At the beach, everything
came in waves: customers, cash, puberty.
People washed up like seashells,

blonds with lemon-streaked hair, smelling
of sugar and sex under a coat of Coppertone.
They’d walk in barefoot, slapping the side
of their head that still held the ocean, order

macadamia nut or chocolate chip cookies
until only a pile of oatmeal and raisin remained,
saved for the old men and toddlers. I gained
five pounds, upped a bra size, read people like

books, watched the parade of posturing and struts,
tattoos and scars, flicking cigarettes with bad form.
No one saw me behind the counter, but I saw the
world that summer in the back bay.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Summer of 1987 (California).


Sabrina Hicks
lives in the Southwest with her family. Her work has appeared in Writer’s Digest, Gyroscope Review, Spelk Fiction, Panoply, Poetry Breakfast and The Drabble.