Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Jeff Dutko

In the Neighborhood of Chocolate

If you could be any candy bar,
which one would you be?
so many now sit in front of me
mingling in the Halloween bowl
as if at a freshman mixer

although I indulge in almost all of them
personally, I would skip any of the ones
that feel the need to disguise
a parsimonious offering of chocolate
by slipping a cream-colored cookie
into the heart of the bite

bars dusted in coconut
those with healthy doses of almond
or any other candy-deterring nut
say, the overly aristocratic macadamia
I would also avoid
candies labeled "Fun" size
have no place in the discussion

If you’re going to be a candy bar
just one, for the rest of your life
you’ve got to pick for scale and pedigree
the King Size Hershey Original stands alone
has candy figured out
adult in concept and maturity
childish in simplicity
no gimmicks, pure, stable
a bar with a future and a past

I love its neatly sectioned off rows
and imagine driving through them
in a tiny confectionary Porsche convertible
speeding through the idyllic neighborhood
of chocolate, each avenue
intersected by each easy street
something to aspire to

A replica of the suburban subdivision itself
only dipped deeper in chocolate
like the faces of the children
only partially hidden behind masks
hoping tonight to go undetected
as they spill out of cars
driven over the city's weathered limits
into this neighborhood of white-washed fences
their parents remaining inside
listening to the music of FM stations
pondering the irony of waiting
for their kids to scour these particular streets
in search of the perfect chocolate bar

©2008 by Jeff Dutko

Jeff Dutko has written poetry for the last quarter century, but only recently has gotten it into the mailbox. His poetry has appeared in several print and online magazines, including Right Hand Pointing, Haggard and Halloo, and Rattlesnake Review. Much of his writing is aimed at giving voice to the special needs children he teaches in Connecticut, where he lives with his wife, son, and nutty dog, Finch.

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