Sugar is Sweet

by Anna Evans

The pre-school note read, “Valentines on Tues-
day. One per child, please, so send in ten.”
Being English still, I was confused—
my three-year-old, send Valentines? But when
I saw them in the store I had to smile:
Disney Princesses, and a rank and file

of GI Joes, cute dinosaurs and pets.
Dutifully I bought them, and we made
them up—they came with stickers, in boxed sets
with lollipops. My youngest’s in sixth grade
this year, and likes a boy, I’m almost sure.
We don’t send her whole class cards any more.

Although I’m now American, and such
conspicuous consumption doesn’t lean
upon my frugal conscience quite so much—
no worse than Christmas, Easter, Halloween—
it bothers me we’ve chosen to elide
your death, Saint Valentine, and that you died,

martyred for your beliefs. It might appall
you to see these symbols tossed around
not even in the name of what we call
Love, but in an expectation found
in pre- and grade school, that we should admire
our classmates equally, without desire.


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