It’s my turn to buy the kettle corn, so
I wait in line, the glorious chords
Of the band on the field
Ringing in my ears
Like so many elephants, and
Give my money to the man behind the counter,
Receiving my warm bag of perfection
Stadium lights illuminate the darkness, but
Can’t keep away the cold as I
Make my way down shining bleachers
To rejoin my friends, who are
Waiting with cups of hot chocolate,
And matching band jackets,
We open the kettle corn.
Warmth attaches itself to our fingers,
Warmth and sugar and salt,
And our tongues are assaulted
By the salty-sweet flavor of the treat.
The band has finished now, and so we wait,
Huddled like penguins in the semi-darkness,
For the judges to make their decisions,
To decide if the work we’ve done for the past months
Has been worth the glory of first,
But we don’t dwell on that.
Our mouths and minds are too filled with
Warmth and sugar and salt.
The other bands do well.
We clap for them, hands sticky, and huddle
Together as the night gets cold.
Then it’s our turn.
They announce our score, but I don’t hear it
As my teeth clamp down on a particularly crunchy kernel.
It doesn’t matter right now, I’ll learn later.
We did well, we know we did well, numbers
And scores can wait until later.
For now, for this moment,
It is just the band, and the warmth,
And the kettle corn.