Because they are strange.
Because they have lips that you will remember
and words you will not
and years later on slow dates you can describe both in poetic detail and pause
for effect. Because they have the best candy:
chocolates in shocking wrappers
that beg for a quiet touch, waxy toffees
that linger obtrusively on tongues. Because your friends are watching.
Because nothing bad has ever happened here.
Because your mother wants you to be polite. Because your mother smiles
at them in line at the grocery store, passing the comic books,
the chocolate milk, the pristine rows of bubble gum.
Because your mother threw out your Halloween candy.
Because your mother believes in skim milk and whole-wheat
misery, which not even the dog wants,
which your father carefully ignores at the breakfast table
to scoop peanut butter straight out of the jar,
which you cannot do because you are not your father,
because you will be grateful for the food that is on the table.
Because Just Do It. Because To Make That Tough Job Easier –
You Deserve M&M Candy. Because How Many Licks Does It Take
To Get To The Center Of A Tootsie Pop?
Because There’s No Wrong Way To Eat A Reese’s.
Because there are no strangers,
just friends you haven’t met.
Because you are not yet tall enough to mow lawns,
have adventures, buy king-sized candy bars. Because soon
you will grow acne and they will not want you then. Because
already you are hungry
for the things you know
you cannot have.
– Janet Kim
Download “Take candy from strangers” as a PDF.