Archives for posts with tag: candy

Alice in Candyland
by Sharon Waller Knutson

King trumps Queen, my mother’s
younger brother, Uncle Jack
says as he teaches me to play poker.
But I prefer to watch his wife,
Aunt Alice, the woman
I want to be, as she removes
her wool coat after working
all week as the city treasurer.

She kicks off her snow boots
and heads for the kitchen
and I follow. I’m making taffy,
divinity and chocolate fudge
for the holidays. Want to help?
she asks me. I don’t know how,
I say. Don’t worry. I’ll teach you.

I slide on the icy sidewalk
separating our houses on Saturday.
Like a warm sweater, Alice’s big body
surrounds mine as she shows me
how to stir the sugar so it doesn’t
burn on the bottom of the saucepan.

As her strong hands hold mine
while we whip the egg whites to stiff
peaks, I feel the strength to stand
up to the bullies who call me Skinny
Stick and when we pull the taffy,
I feel the stamina to walk two miles
to school as the snow freezes into ice.

The misery of being a thirteen-year-old
feminist female in the fifties in a small town
melts like the sweet candy in my mouth
as we stand in the warm kitchen
forming a bond that can’t be broken
by distance, divorce or death, something
we didn’t know that snowy Saturday
when I learned to make candy with my aunt.

PHOTO: Christmas fudge by Dolphy.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is part of a collection of poems, The Leading Ladies in My Life, forthcoming in 2023, about my female relatives and how they played a part in who I am today. I was blessed to have an extended family that helped me survive the 1950s in a small town where a woman’s place was in the home. My paternal grandmother and my Aunt Alice were the women I most admired because they were independent, strong females who had careers, children, and husbands. I always wanted to leave town and make a living as a published writer, something I achieved thanks to the examples of Aunt Alice and Grandma Anna.

Knutson copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sharon Waller Knutson is a retired journalist who lives in Arizona. She has published eight poetry books including My Grandmother Smokes Chesterfields (Flutter Press 2014), What the Clairvoyant Doesn’t Say  and Trials & Tribulations of Sports Bob (both Kelsay Books 2021) and Survivors, Saints and Sinners and Kiddos & Mamas Do the Darndest Things (both Cyberwit 2022). Her work has also appeared in Discretionary Love, Impspired, GAS Poetry, Art and Music, The Rye Whiskey Review, Black Coffee Review, Terror House Review, Trouvaille Review, ONE ART, Mad Swirl, The Drabble, Gleam, Spillwords, Muddy River Review, Verse-Virtual, Your Daily Poem, Red Eft Review, and The Five-Two.

by Wendy Stewart

For Christmas we make marzipan fruits.
They are as big as my thumbs.

Apples are round and red,
like apples. I get it.

Plums are purple like plums.
I like them best.
Bananas are yellow and long.

I say grapes and she laughs.
I get it. They’d be so little.

Once she says Oh! That one
I thought must be a real plum.

She puts them on the glass tray.
They stay set on the cold porch.

When company comes,
we offer them our candies.
She holds the tray.

I tell how my mum
was fooled by my plum:
That one.

PHOTO: Marzipan fruits by Fiery Phoenix.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote “Sweets” when my daughter was little, perhaps littler than I was in this poem, and I was missing my mother. It is a fond memory. It struck me that you don’t know what’s going to stick with a person all their lives, or how what sticks can encourage them—or not—in ways you can’t foresee.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Originally from Canada, since 2007 Wendy Stewart has made her home in New York State. She’s published poems, creative nonfiction, essays, humor, and artwork in Our Voices,, San Pedro River Review, and The Afterlife of Discarded Objects, a digital collective story-telling project and book.

KulpaHarvest Gold

by Kathryn Kulpa

First grade, where all my transgressions began.

I blame Todd Ramos, with his birthday bag of gold coins. They were real gold, he said. Not candy. And his uncle was a real pirate, and lived on a pirate ship.

My cartoon hero was Underdog, and at the start of every show, Underdog—in his disguise as a lowly paperboy—was paid with a coin, which he bit, presumably to check that it was a real coin and not candy.

So my path was clear.

I took one of Todd’s gold coins from its net bag, put it between my teeth, and bit down, hard. The coin I’d half believed was real–half wanted to–gave way immediately. And as I was about to proclaim to the class that Todd had lied came his wail: She ate my chocolate!

No use to protest that he’d called it real gold. No use to cite the example of Underdog. I was sent to the Seat of Shame, where I spent the day in outlaw silence, slowly picking scraps of bitter gold foil out of my mouth, letting sweet stolen chocolate melt between my offending teeth.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The photo is me, age five and a half, on the first day of school. I wanted to wear my new winter coat and hat, even though it was only September, and probably sweltering. I believe I was dissuaded, but I did get to pose for a picture in them — in the kitchen, next to our harvest gold range.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Dear Todd (name changed to protect the innocent): this is just to say I am sorry I ate the chocolate you brought to school, and which you were probably saving for lunch. Forgive me. It was delicious, so sweet and so gold.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kathryn Kulpa is the author of  Pleasant Drugs (Mid-List Press)  and Who’s the Skirt? (Origami Poems Project). She has published flash fiction and prose poetry in Smokelong Quarterly, KYSO Flash, Literary Orphans, and The Flexible Persona and has work forthcoming from Hyacinth Girl Press. She will teach a fiction class for adults this fall at the Rogers Free Library in Bristol, Rhode Island.

by Claire Ibarra

Spicy-sweet Coca-Cola gummies, slippery and sleek, glided
across my teeth while hanging out at Marcy’s Candy Shop.

We were Charlie’s Angels, I was Farrah Fawcett, or so I desired
to be that woman on the poster. We wore dark sunglasses and
carried Hello Kitty pads to take notes on our secret missions.

You were Jaclyn Smith, with long brown hair, hazel eyes,
wearing flair polyester. We took notes on your sister.
We watched her like detectives, convinced that she was
some kind of crazy. She became our Kate Jackson.

We packed our cheeks with massive gumballs painted
rainbow colors. Chewed on red licorice, while looping it
around our fingers. We smeared lips with cherry Smackers.

We sucked on Red Hot Tamales the night we climbed out
the window after eleven. Your sister led us to a rendezvous
with her boyfriend. Standing in the middle of the street,

I shrieked when his slimy tongue pried my lips open.
The boy we called Charlie gave us lessons. Braces
grated gums, as we took turns with our assignment.

Do you remember the flavor of a girl’s first kiss?

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Capturing the flavor of my first kiss.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For me, this poem captures a distinct time and place: summertime in Los Angeles during the 1970s. My friends and I were obsessed with candy, Charlie’s Angels, and boys — and pretty much in that order.

claire ibarra

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Claire Ibarra is a writer, poet, and photographer. Her poetry has appeared in many fine literary journals and anthologies, including The Midwest Quarterly, Words Dance, Pirene’s Fountain, Thrush Poetry Journal, and Cahoodaloodaling. She has work forthcoming in White Stag Press. Claire has worked with nonprofits, teaching poetry to incarcerated women in Florida. She is currently in the MFA creative writing program at Florida International University.

Sugar Rush
by Alexandra Carr-Malcolm

I’m whacked out on sugar,
my mood it is high,
I’m giddy and playful,
just look at me fly!

No need to worry,
I’m prepared for the crash,
I have foamy bananas,
in my secret stash!

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is a whimsical poem written about my favourite sweets – foamy bananas. I find them irresistible and sometimes have a secret hoard of them in my writing desk. They are an essential must for writing and editing.


Alexandra Carr-Malcolm
was born and raised in Chesterfield, Derbyshire (United Kingdom). She now lives in Yorkshire and works as a freelance British Sign Language Interpreter within the Yorkshire region. Alex started keeping journals and writing poetry as a young girl. Only two years ago, encouraged by friends, she set up a poetry blog — — and was astonished by the positive response to her poetry. Alex has been featured in five collaborative anthologies by Dagda Publishing and also appeared in The Wait. Her first anthology Tipping Sheep (the right way) was released in 2013. Currently Alex is working on her second anthology to be released later this year.

Easter dumb bunnies
Giant SweeTart
by Yvonne Zipter

Like the sugared heart of a candy gremlin,
it was my only companion those nights
when I sat for the kids next door, drugged
with sleep already when I arrived.

The plastic wrapper crackled
like little electric charges
as I wrestled it open, liberating
a pink hockey puck of pucker.

With the neighbor lady’s copy
of In Cold Blood spilled open
in my lap, I’d gnaw the rim
of the calcified sweet, my teeth

etching perfectly parallel scars there,
as Perry Smith and Dick Hickock
shimmered to life and my pulse raced
with something like pleasure.

PHOTOGRAPH: In a candy coma — Yvonne Zipter (left) and her sister, Easter, 1958 or 1959, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I first contemplated the prompt for this series, I was certain I would be writing a poem about my mother, given that I often fondly recall the delectable treats she baked. But the memory of the Giant SweeTarts I would eat while babysitting was so vivid that I knew I needed to write about that.

YZ smile

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Yvonne Zipter is the author of the chapbook Like Some Bookie God (Pudding House Publications, 2006) and a full-length collection, The Patience of Metal (Hutchinson House, 2000). Her poems have appeared in such periodicals as Poetry, Calyx, Crab Orchard Review, Metronome of Aptekarsky Ostrov (Russia), Bellingham Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review, as well as several anthologies. She is the recipient of a fellowship to the Summer Literary Seminar in St. Petersburg, Russia, and an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award for the poem “Grace Lesson.” She has also published two nonfiction books, short fiction, and essays.


Too Late for Phone Calls
by Joseph Johnston

I am there on the sofa and my father is scared. He’s just hung up the phone that hangs in the kitchen. It’s too late for phone calls because I’m in my pajamas. My brother asks Dad what’s wrong and he says something about a refinery explosion. I don’t know what a refinery is beyond the place Mom goes to work when I get home from kindergarten.

I am there on the sofa and I’m scared. And my brother is scared though he pretends he isn’t. We never go to bed. The Zenith is on and we watch some show about the police. My brother covers me with a blanket and lays down and begins snoring and my father stares into a car chase and I close my eyes.

I am there on the sofa and Johnny Carson strides through a rainbow curtain and Mom strides in with her coveralls soaked and her hardhat covered in soot. She opens up her tough lunch box and hands us each a candy bar she got from the machine at work.

I am there on the sofa and I eat my Kit-Kat way past my bedtime and no one is scared anymore.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: The photo is from birthday three, 1978, around when the events of the story would have taken place, about to tear into a tower of Hostess cupcakes.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is a piece based on one of my very earliest memories. My father worked briefly at the local oil refinery which was a very scary looking place and he always came home very late and I fondly remember one night when he arrived with candy bars for me and my siblings that he’d gotten from the break room candy machine. It may as well have been Christmas. While fictionalizing this memory, I thought it would be interesting to reverse the roles and have a house full of scared men and boys waiting for news about their matriarch after an emergency at the plant.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Writer and filmmaker Joseph Johnston made his first movie at the age of 11, an industrial espionage thriller that continues to play to excited crowds in his parent’s living room every Christmas. His prose, poetry, and video literature have appeared in Old Northwest Review, Arcadia, and the Iron Horse Literary Review. He currently resides in Michigan, where he is working on a documentary and book about the history of boxing in Detroit.

by Katie Bo Peep

o peeps,
you are so sweet
the yellow ones are the best
but the others still pass my test.
easter is my favorite time of year
because a day without peeps is something i fear.
i do believe that my mouth can sense when they are near,
o peeps, how i love you!
the purple ones are the second favorite of mine,
but on all peeps i do dine.
yellow, purple, white, pink or blue,
which peeps are best to you?