There was a janky little store,
In a crummy little town,
In a drab little chunk
Of blissfully boring Southern Illinois—
And it sold the best sodas.
In the darkest corner
Of the grey-lit grocery store
Glowed a navy chamber,
Paned with glass,
That bore the name:
And within, it stored rows
Of off-brand beauties.
Columns of neon cans
Storing neon drinks
That tasted like you drank
Garnished with the filaments
Of neon lights
Bathing the drinks in their light.
And there, I found the best soda
It was a peach soda
In a peachy can,
With sprawling green letters
Giving me its name.
The soda bubbled and fizzed louder
Than any of the plain-Jane,
That my mother kept
Inside our fridge.
No, this was a magical potion,
Crafted by the most High wizards,
Imbuing the bubbles
With the power of stars
And the taste with
Liquid drops of the sunset.
It had the power of nectar,
The transcendental high of the gods,
And it had the power to hold memories.
Each sip was ingrained with a dream,
A whisper of years ago.
Of sitting on the couch
With a lousy dog curled in my lap,
A war movie on the TV.
Or in the back seat of a bus,
Drinking my fill of the nectar
Until I got sick.
Or sitting at the edge of a driveway,
Waiting for the stars to come meet me,
And the sun to sink far down
Below the fields of wheat
And black shadows of summer trees.
A clear glass of peach soda,
Lifted to the sky for the colors to bleed together—
The sun and nectar the same rosy hue,
The flitting bubbles dancing about
Like the flickerings of stars
Waiting to burn through the atmosphere.
I could raise it high, high enough
For it to be blessed by the light of Heaven,
And it would always and forever
Glow like a sunset in Illinois.
And forever and always
Will I desire the sunset in the Midwest.
When I should I find myself longing,
I will find a clear glass bottle of nectar,
And I will drink.