The Taste of Toasted Marshmallows

The Taste of Toasted Marshmallows

I’m participating (sporadically) in OctPoWriMo (October Poetry Writing Month). Here are some of my efforts:

hanna-morris-278272Day 3’s prompt was The Taste of Metal. I imagined shish kabob, which led to memories of toasted marshmallows:

The part of the barbecue I like the best.

I select a skinny branch on the tree and snap it off.
I peel off the bark, and I sharpen one end of my stick to a point, rubbing it against the concrete back porch steps.

I stick a marshmallow on my homemade skewer, and hold it over the smoldering coals.
There is an art to this: too close, and it burns; too far away, and it takes forever.
Just right, and the sugary white blob turns brown, like deep suntan, the innards sweet melty goo.

Day 7’s prompt was And Then I Went Too Far, which reminded me of a childhood incident I’d forgotten:

The Day I Ran Away

I can’t remember why I left
Some unbearable grievance no doubt
Running away seemed a reasonable response
And a marvelous adventure

maxi-corrado-140647Without any forethought
Without packing any provisions
I hopped on my bicycle
And pedaled till I grew weary

Two towns away I rode to the hospital
A nurse exited, her shift over
I approached her and said,
“I’m running away from home.
Can you help me?”

I expected she would see what I fine girl I was
And offer to adopt me
Instead, she sighed
And lifted my bike into the trunk of her car

Dashing my hopes, she didn’t
Take me to her home
Opting to drive me to the police station
And hand me over to authorities

Who weren’t interested in where I wanted to go
Or why I left
Only in calling my bewildered parents
To come pick me up.

My father apologized to the cop
And transferred my bike to his trunk
And said nothing to me beyond
“Get in the car.”

At home, my mother berated me
“How could you make us worry so?
What were you thinking?”

How could I tell her
It seemed a reasonable response
And a marvelous adventure

Day 9’s prompt was Tapping the Ash of her Cigarette, which reminded me of an anthropological artifact of my childhood:

The Ashtray

Photo by Amin.

In the 1950s and 60s,
An ashtray was an appreciated gift for a grownup.
We made them for our parents in school and at Girl Scout meetings.
They were ubiquitous.
Families displayed them on coffee- and end-tables.
Children emptied them daily as part of their chores.
(That’s as close to cigarettes as they were allowed to get—
Funny how our parents recognized their “coffin nails” were bad for children.)
My parents both quit smoking, my father only after a heart attack.
My mother-in-law quit the hard way: dying of lung cancer.

None of my friends smokes.
None of us have ashtrays.
It’s funny how times change.

Day 11’s prompt was Dancing. What follows is a true story:

The Epsom Salts Girl

The orchestra’s playing a waltz
And I can’t dance

Two weeks ago I landed on the side of my foot
And heard it crunch

My partner asked if she’d stepped on my foot
I said, “No, it was all me.”

Nothing broken, just badly sprained
My chiropractor said “Soak it in ice water.”

Are you crazy?
I’m a hot water and Epsom salts girl

Day 13’s prompt was Art:


The white canvas jeers
I smother it with inky darkness

Then I take my palette knife and scrape it off
Leaving gray areas behind

To counteract the gloom
I smear on aqua and yellow green
Shock it with pink
Burn it with yellow and orange

My brush blends the colors
As if the canvas were my palette
And a cityscape forms before my eyes
With sidewalk cafes and flower shops
And car headlights reflecting off rain slick streets

I graduate to thinner and thinner brushes
To add the people who live in this city
People with jobs and relationships
People with places to go and people to see
I step back and survey my world
I dip my pinkie in cadmium white
And dab it judiciously where light is needed

It’s not too late to jump in and write some poems of your own! If you’ve posted an OctPoWriMo poem online, share a link in the comments below.




About Andrea R Huelsenbeck

Andrea R Huelsenbeck is a wife, a mother of five and a former elementary general music teacher. A freelance writer in the 1990s, her nonfiction articles and book reviews appeared in Raising Arizona Kids, Christian Library Journal, and other publications. She is currently working on a young adult mystical fantasy novel and a mystery.

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