by Jenny Chen
Squishy, sickly sweet (like soggy cereal
swimming in a bowl of milk), and
swaddled in gaudy blue plastic,
three NutriGrain Soft Baked Breakfast Bars
sit impishly by my pencil sharpener,
feigning death as they remind me
I pilfered them.
His eyes sank, the first time,
like blueberry jam
soaking into cheap white bread,
and his words spilled out
like clumsy, cloying sloshes of milk.
Slow morning espresso steam, his hopes shimmied and danced
(a smile here,
a stray word there),
gyrating and rising
as if he would never
learn to believe in ceilings.
They were meant for the kids he loves to work with.
with sugary flour around their strawberry-flavored insides,
these NutriGrain Soft Baked Breakfast Bars might have fluttered like wings
if they could have.
I peel away their plastic
and eat them,
one by one—
crumby exteriors and gooey red innards