Sunday Candy

A poem


Those mornings in bed you pray

somehow they’ll let you stay home:

then you think of the moment

Sunday school ends, those fifteen minutes

before the grown-ups sing their final hymn —

how you’ll run across the street

to the tiny candy store (there’s one

across from every church)

and give half the offering your father

pressed into your hand

to the old agnostic behind the counter.


This is money for God.

But your religion’s the faith of candy —

so you give it to the old man still

in his slippers and bathrobe.

Miraculously, each weekend, this

second allowance has arrived:

you’ve made a choice, stolen half

the tithe, now stand pointing out

chocolates and licorice

behind finger-smudged sheets of glass.

He crams them in a small brown paper bag.


You cram them down your gullet

before the long ride home.


Riding a sugar-rush all the way,

a delicious ride home from church:

in the back-seat,

the blood in your veins

thickly renewed, and yes, yes,

riding the sweet rapture of sin.