From H&G

The sticky stuff

The Iowa Review - - FRONT PAGE - Anna maria hong

The candy gets on the in­side be­cause we eat it and eat it like thieves, like chil­dren un­der the great burr of clouds made by a god in a sloth­ful mood. The candy gets on the out­side and sticks like tragedy, mark­ing us as the worst type of per­son. It sticks like the worst time. What was the worst time? We can’t re­mem­ber it, but we can feel it like a smear of em­bers in­side our small chests. The worst time was when G. had to push the Witch. The worst time was when Fa­ther left us in the woods with noth­ing but crumbs and stones. The worst time was when he did it again, and we knew he was ly­ing. The worst time was when Mother died and ev­ery­thing after that. We re­mem­ber ev­ery­thing of course. We’re bro­ken, not naive. We re­mem­ber the sharp wind mov­ing the yel­low leaves across the Woods as we walked on and on look­ing for noth­ing, though we were very hun­gry and cold and felt a new bad feel­ing, a sticky burn­ing that kept us mov­ing. Then we ate the candy and could not stop eat­ing. The worst time was when the Witch gripped H.’s hand and told him to stop eat­ing. The worst time was hear­ing the Witch scream­ing, though she had wanted to kill us and eat us. Other things stick to the candy, such as other adults’ re­marks about our greed­i­ness and as­ton­ish­ing cru­elty. We should be more for­giv­ing like nor­mal chil­dren they say. Those re­marks stick be­cause we don’t know who they be­long to—them or us—and some­times we don’t know if the words are on the out­side or not.

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