Trading mother-packed snacks (high stakes)

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Trading mother-packed snacks.

You’ve got that contraband
in your backpack today:
that sandlot stimulant.

The way you walk on the school bus
gives it away that you’re carrying
something suspicious,
and have a stash of
that black-top-heroin-
high-fructose-corn-syrup
tucked securely in your lunch bag.

Okay, maybe you didn’t bring
actual drugs to school,
but you might as well have,
with the way you carry
that tin container.

The other kids ask what you’re hiding
in your action-hero lunchbox,
locked with metal straps on the sides.
You reply a single word,”dessert.”

In this sugar-free sanctuary of higher learning,
those words ripple through the student body
like an earthquake of magnitude way-too-high
on the Richter scale.
Students speculate what sugary sin
lies within the tin safe,
but they are all mistaken.

Come lunchtime,
everyone wants a taste of the dime bag
you’ve been hiding,
but you’re only willing to trade it
if the price is right:

A brown paper bag (parents’ drawing optional)
filled with unmarked, nonconsecutive
apple slices.

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