The Death of Mr. Peanut
by Mark Williams
My early memories include a sky-blue Packard
cruising down Main Street past The Victory Theatre,
past the gleam of drum sets and shine of black pianos
behind spreading wings of glass at Harding & Miller Music.
Past rows of chocolate mice at Hermann’s Candy.
Today, my mother’s at the wheel. That’s me
beside her, watching Main Street narrow to the river.
Suddenly my mother’s pumping the brakes,
leaning out the window toward a parked taxi.
“Mister! I’m going to hit you!” Mother shouts.
“Sure, lady. Go ahead,” the taxi driver says.
With my mother’s arm across my chest,
I learn a yellow cab will stop a sky-blue Packard.
Next, I learn that Mr. Peanut, the peanut man
who stands outside his shop to hand out nuts,
has blue eyes inside the giant smile
that cuts across his giant peanut head.
“You OK, buddy?” Mr. Peanut asks—
his head too large to fit inside my window.
For me, the Tooth Fairy will soon be history,
followed by the Easter Bunny and, most sadly, Santa Claus.
But first to fall is Mr. Peanut, his detached
head smiling in the corner of his shop. And there,
leaning against the nut-filled counter,
a man with peanut-colored pants smiles, too—
his blue eyes moving up my mother’s legs
as she calls my father on the phone for help.
From Mark Williams: “I live in Evansville, Indiana, home of Hermann's Candy, which vanished along with Mr. Peanut. My poems have appeared in The Hudson Review, The Southern Review, Rattle, Nimrod, New Ohio Review, The American Journal of Poetry, and the anthology, New Poetry From the Midwest. Finishing Line Press published my poem, 'Happiness,' as a chapbook in 2015.”