Song of My Shelf:
it contains multitudes.

- - -

“Molasses Chew”

I sing the candy eclectic,
The ermine zigzags I love engirth it and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And molasses, then, what is up with that, for crying out loud?

Was it doubted that those who corrupt this bonbon conceal themselves?
And if those who defile the filling are as bad as they who defile the shell?
And if the candy does not need filling as much as the shell?
And if the candy were not the shell, what is the shell?

- - -

“Chocolate Whip”

A child said What is the whip? fetching it to me with full


How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any

more than he.

I guess it must be the bland of my disposition, out of airy

nougat woven.

- - -

“Messenger Boys”

Milk chocolate boy fresh from the store,
Milk chocolate boy and all so helpful;
Milk chocolate years of wearisome life and all so burdened.

Messenger boy puts on his checkered suit and staggers
with his box to the market,
I loiter enjoying the corduroy stripes, his shuffle and break-down.

- - -

“Pecan/ English Walnut Cluster”

When walnuts last with the pecans group’d,
And the great star early dropp’d from the assortment’s firmament
I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with every later sampling.

Every later sampling, perfection sure to me you bring,
Pecans blooming perennial, and a complete assortment,
And thoughts of nuts I love.

- - -

“Cherry Cordial”

Out seeps the cordial, endlessly cloying,

Out of the milk chocolate shell, this damnable truffle,

Out of the 12th Street Walmart,

Over the sterile shelves and the aisles beyond, where the child

leaving his cart wander’d alone, bareheaded, barefoot,

Down from the shelves of Halo™,

Right up to the mystic Russell Stover display, all twinkling as

if it were alive,

Out from the cartons of Hershey’s and Godiva,

From the memories of the box that enchanted to me,

From your memories, sad brother, from the fitful sighing and

gagging I heard,

Borne hither, ere all eludes me, hurriedly,

A man, yet by these tears a little boy again,

Throwing myself on the box, uprooting the layers,

I, chomper of pralines and chews, uniter of here and hereafter,

Taking all hints to eschew them, but swiftly leaping upon them,

A repentance sing.