When you find out what these kids are jumping into, your jaw will drop!
The narrator 
takes a break from his wares
sticks and twine into the solution, 
and presents as if he were christening 
an orchestral movement.
opens this contraption to the breeze 
and produces a super bubble the size 
of a unicorn pony bounding away into the distant horizon.
it’s difficult for him to 
create this enchantment children 
seek to destroy so fervently
a keepsake wallet-sized print-out of his 
second infarction’s EKG 
reminds him of mortality and a frame story
for an epistolary about that one,
small family of strangers we finally let in, 
a mother and her child
As the child developed the strength of a 
middle aged tree,
the ratio of candy to bruises never changed 
in his favor. 
The narrator sounded like this: 
I’ll take you away from here right now, 
but you’ll have to forget. 
And you can’t remember where we’re going. 
The townspeople whispered 
abortion when the child grew into 
what the e-newsletter described as 
“A reminder of misallocated generosity” 
under the headline, 
“Details Reader’s Digest Won’t Print”
the candy was the story 
because if the candy wasn’t the story, then 
all those bruises were for nothing.
and the story on her end?
patches of dubious miraculous-ness
stitched with glass noodle
lay on her lap
like a flattened cat. 
she can sit the kitchen 
of an evening,
watch gas 
flares at the refinery
for an eternity.
useless to them but 
flashy to her like the wild potential
of what they showed on the HDTV
outside the town wall 
he displays mosaics for sale.
bottle cap plastic 
spoon pieces sharp and
sun bleached, broken,
Happy Meal shards 
fixed to plywood in regimented 
blocks of color
vice principals stop on their way back in--
administrative assistants, team-members, 
sales associates, band boosters--
to visit his makeshift booth.
apologizing in their way by purchasing
one of the lesser 5 dollar works 
he kept in plentiful stock.
camouflaged of desperation 
but crackling with urgency,
citing rights,
they each demanded to know, 
sotto voce,
do your fantastic stories work? 
Yes, the narrator sighs.
yes. but
grab a lollipop on your way out.

Anthony Hughes lives and teaches in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a strong back and his mom still thinks he's handsome.

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