Blue Jolly Rancher, Red Starburst.

(Or: how I learned that sweet things were the quickest way to my heart.)


Even the smallest gesture can contain so much meaning.


I had been at my office’s resource table for nearly half an hour;
waiting for lucky student number four to stop by.
I was sent with the anticipation of more than three interactions
but all I’m interacting with is the lock screen on my phone
every couple minutes in the hope that any time has passed.


Even the slightest change can make such a difference.


At the table a few feet in front and to the right of mine
stands Jax; more than acquaintance but not quite friend.
He saw something of me in a piece of candy in the bowl at his table
and each subconscious thought came together to form
his conscious choice to shift the room’s equilibrium.


Future is at the mercy of every trivial decision made.


My hand stills in the middle of typing in my passcode another time
as I realize Jax is walking towards my table— towards me.
He says, “you look like you need something sweet,”
and holds out a blue jolly rancher for me— my favorite flavor.


Some things come together exactly how they should.

I never told him blue was my favorite, and the coincidence makes me smile.
I can’t eat the candy. I cringe at my disproportionate sentimentality.
I roll that moment around in my mind the same way I roll the candy between my fingers;
lingering on sweetness I never knew I needed so much.


Maybe the way to my heart is just a piece of candy.


I find a red starburst wrapper at the bottom of my bag,
suddenly my heart feels rubbed raw, tender and exposed like a fresh wound.
I unearth another memory I keep rolling around, less lingering, more clinging,
of a boy in a class I took, a boy I never really knew,
but god, god, would I have liked to.


Maybe I should start charging more for my heart.


He had Jax’s same sweet sincerity;
some kind of innocence I find uniquely trustworthy.
I felt, somewhere within me, a primal urge to protect him
and, somewhere else, a primal urge to know him completely
and, somewhere else, a primal urge to devour him.


They say history repeats itself.


He asked if I wanted a Starburst, and I felt the echo of familiar sentimentality.
As I told him that I did, and took a red one— pretending he chose it for me—
he started reading me his poem, and I was struck by the way he read it;
each word brought alive with emotion that only comes from intimate familiarity.
He was writing with ink made of my bone marrow.


Some things come together exactly how they should.


I took him in, piece by piece— how he looked with sunglasses and without,
the pattern on his socks, and the places where his hair stood straight.
His smile, I thought, looked exactly the same as his laugh sounded.
As I was making mental notes of each freckle, his eyes met mine—
a brief instant that sent a tornado tearing through the pit of my stomach.
I snapped my eyes away like i’d been burnt, with a nervous little smile.


Some things end before they begin.

This poem is about: 
My community


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