I wanted to slay the dragon for you

Under fluorescent lights in the aisle
of Funyuns, you read Bazooka
Jokes, lingered over baseball cards,
shook Cracker Jack Boxes the same
way the dragon shook you. Your
arms, caramel corn and jack cuffed
in his iron grip. How you rattled
against his beefed bones. Cringed at
the stench of cigarettes on his
breath. And even when he couldn’t
shake anything out of you but dad’s
pennies, his nostrils flared. A
firestorm escaped from the lair of
his mouth and snaked around the
stacked Skippy all the way back to
the ice cream sandwiches where I
hid. Only your sister and a few years
older, what could I do without a
sword, but crawl inside. Play dead
and let the freezer bite into my skin.