Apple Bear

Deep in the quagmire,

hidden beneath the lopsided house,

whose turquoise paint chips away into crystals,

a realm of unending limbo captures every stumbling soul.


Decisions are never made,

as the queen bee forces honey into each mouth,

crushing flowers beneath her heavy, gold-encrusted talons,

workers turning out their innards to perfume the chambers,

where raccoons go to school in the slums of a garbage-covered retreat.


Every act encircles itself,

the hair of the shrew acting as the bell chime’s tassel,

swans cavorting in skates across the frozen pond,

where the bright orange fish named Miss Marilyn drowns—

once a day.


Children aren’t allowed here,

for their unimaginable fears swallow new thoughts,

causing imagination to retreat into stagnant story books,

ripped to shreds by the grey rabbit who hovers above the bleachers,

pouring delicious tasting toxins down the throats of the unsuspecting.


The maroon crusader steers a ship made of gumdrops,

and even though it stays afloat,

the buzzers that fly still listen to their leader,

whose lies are easily regurgitated into dollops of dew.


It’s all so damn edible,

yet butterflies smothered in margarine never appear.


Whenever a new regent comes to ride,

the colors retreat into the murky swamp of melted fondant,

sweetness unable to resist the overpowering mold that spreads

—in the land of candy we choke on our own innocence.


For this is a place where buildings are mere fragments

of board games that decayed long ago,

still, the koala climbs up the Tootsie Pop tree,

as I find myself stuck at the bottom of this bog,

gaining consciousness in a kingdom where I shouldn’t exist.


I squirm,

and finally, just as I nearly asphyxiate on the

fragrant scents of the empress, the stinger on her rump headed right for my face,

the black and white panda presses his hand to my belly button,

handing me his authentic, perennial bamboo,

and I unfold,

my discoveries seeping out.

Alexander Rigby