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Boardwalk Food, Sugar Coma (2 poems)

Boardwalk Food

My aunt took my hand,

and we walked the boards

down the shore,

passing Mr. Peanut with samples

in a paper cup,

past the fudge makers,

rolling out chocolate marshmallows,

and cutting little squares.

The smell of fresh donuts

on a warm summer morning,

a baker curling the dough,

frying circles of delight,

dripping with vanilla icing.

I kept telling my aunt,

how hungry I was,

as the waves crashed

into the rocks, and the gulls

soared over the pier.

We passed a pizzeria,

and watched a guy make

a New York-style pie,

pulling one from a brick oven—

one slice for a dollar-fifty;

my aunt bought two.

So much to eat,

that we had to stay another week.

We couldn’t resist

the swirl of cotton candy.

Sugar Coma

The last thing I remember is

standing in line at a candy store.

It was white and antiseptic,

a checkerboard floor, and the glass case

had a bright display.

They organized the candies in rows—

milk chocolates, dark chocolates,

white chocolates—brittles and toffees,

fudge and truffles.

I took one big inhale,

and imagined I was in

Charlie’s chocolate factory,

overwhelmed by all the candy.

It was only after I ate a Kona Mocha

did my head spin, and I felt numb.

My eyes rolled to the back of my head

when I sampled the Polar Bear Paw.

I dropped to the floor

with a sugary thud.

I convulsed like Frankenstein

from two candied bolts of electricity.

Mark Tulin (he/him) is a former family therapist from Philadelphia. His books include Magical Yogis, Awkward Grace, The Asthmatic Kid and Other Stories, Junkyard Souls, and Rain on Cabrillo. He’s been featured in Vita Brevis, Vita Brevis Press, The Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, and others. Follow Mark at

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