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And Everything Nice

— Michal ‘MJ’ Jones

after Wanda Coleman

Before we warred
there was sweet.

We would sneak the stuff—
our saccharine secret—

somehow sure it made us sinners.
It started at four (or sometime before):

Slurping of Log Cabin syrup
right down from its cap,

brother & I howling. Passed it back and
forth on Saturday mornings. We’d

rocket across grasshopper’s green yard
until fuel burnt up & needed

re-stocking. We sweetened unnatural
places. Brown rice n chicken,

Kraft mac n cheese,
or guzzled it straight, no chaser,

let grains dissolve in
gluttonous caverns.

Stirred six cups into Kool-Aid pitchers.
Before-during-after we learned

of bitterness, of absence,
we slammed sugar unsupervised.

Knew nothing of what
too much could do to our

insatiable bodies. Knew nothing
of restraint. Knew nothing of life’s

undoing. But we knew enough
to keep this secret sacred &

beneath the kitchen table.


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