Joseph Farley

Hard Candy

After the 200 dollars
had been used up
in his arms,
and after she had
rinsed off, wiped him
clean, helped him
put his clothes
back on, asked
for a bigger tip,
she guided him
by the hand
to the door,
paused at the bar,
scooped up a fistful
of hard candy,
shoved it into
his hand, filled
his pockets to overflowing.

“You come back,”
she said. “You ask
for Mimi.”

He left laden
with treasure,
too much for him,
enough to share
with his children
when they ran out
to greet him,
enough for
the neighbors’ kids,
enough to fill
a dish for guests.
All day suckers
that lingered
on his tongue:
mint, orange, lime.

He went back.
He asked for Mimi.

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