In the old church,
on the hard, dark pews,
it grew hot and hotter
through the stained glass.
My little jacket was deep blue
with four buttons and two pockets.
One without a single hole. Wads of gum
stuck under the seat, some stickier
than others. My fingers soon smelled
lusciously of peppermint, clove, and spearmint.
And then came the sin, of course.
Who could resist? That devil.
Little kids can do things like this.
Chewing other people’s gum
without remorse. Savoring the flavors.
The understanding that, yes, it’s true
that gum keeps its flavor
when put on the bedpost overnight.
Even someone else’s gum.