on the page magazine

issue no. 5, autumn 2001


Stoned Wheat Thins

by Zoë Francesca

"I am a witch," I tell them, "a priestess."
I hang a sign on my door of a blue palm and an evil eye,
but no one knocks. I'm only 10 years old.

In this indoor world, butterflies are not allowed, but moths are.
I give away pennies to my brother who throws them,
along with lighted paper, out the window.

At the beach there is no umbrella.
My skin burns,
so much paler than my mother's.

"In the car," says Dad, "Go to the car."
          "What's there?"
"Something good."

The car is a mile away. The sand
itches feet scraped by dried weeds and shells.
The car is too hot to touch. I forgot the key.

I go back, the grown-ups smile. A carcass of a sea bird
scares me. Return to parking lot, open car,
find box of Stoned Wheat Thins.

Driest, palest awful food with the saddest name. Stoned Wheat Thins.
I have no money, no license to drive away,
all I have is a book that says:

"The Sun and Mary Poppins, together yet apart, stood still…
then with a large and gracious movement of his head,
the Sun leaned across the space that separated him from Mary Poppins
and, with great ceremony, carefully, lightly,
swiftly, he brushed her cheek with his lips."

Zoë Francesca is the poetry editor of On the Page.

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