A Message from God by Mary Mac

It was an incredibly foggy morning. Like pea soup, as they say. I was driving to work in Austin, Texas from my small town of Bastrop, about 40 miles east. The drive usually took about an hour, but this morning it was taking forever. I was just inching along. I had almost no visibility. I could maybe see two car lengths ahead. I was terribly anxious, afraid I might run into something or run off the road. I wasn’t sure whether to stop or keep going or exactly what to do to calm my fear and keep me safe. I prayed and peered ahead. Suddenly a digital billboard penetrated the dense fog. It had only one word on it:


It was as if God were speaking.

Follow Mary Mac on her blog hopeforabusedwomen.com ; Twitter @MaryMac30183567 ; and on Facebook as Mary English

My Dessert by John Grey

Can't eat the rich food
without thinking of you.
Your soft skin comes cool
with ice-cream licks.
Down you go sweet,
illicit, via creamy chocolates.
My tongue is tingly aware
of your milk-shake kisses,
honey lips, the peach-juice
of your mouth.
And what is creme brulee
but slow, exquisite spoonfuls
of sugary, custard love.
The fact is I rush the main course
to get to the cheesecake, the tortes,
even push back some of the
hard, tough, filling protein
it takes to get through life
just to leave room for the luxuries.
When I'm with you in restaurants,
I barely eat a thing.
After taking away a barely nibbled meal,
the waiter brings a dessert tray.
He doesn't know you're here already.

by John Grey, Johnston RI, <jgrey10233@aol.com>                                                                           

Live From The Chocolate Wars by John Grey

It is an army at rest.
A brown army camped inside a box.
Its disguise is more clever
for being no disguise.
Its pineapple shape
conceals a pineapple,
its strawberry, a strawberry.
Years ago, its predecessors
declared war on my thin waistline.
Based on that success,
it' s been sending reinforcements ever since.
No longer cheap supermarket brands however.
These latest troops are Swiss and German.
And no need to inarch, to attack my flanks.
They merely tempt from brightly colored camps
The battle is furious but brief.
Unlike all other wars,
the victors are no longer,
the vanquished survives.
Also, the lands of the conquered
are not taken from him.
In fact, they expand a little
with every loss.

by John Grey, Johnston RI, <jgrey10233@aol.com>      


MY GIFT by John Grey

My first mistake

was arriving at her door

with a box of chocolates.

First, she admonished me

for being so uncaring 

of her figure.

Then she grabbed

the sweets out of my hand,

found them far more

tempting than me.

She must have eaten the whole box

while I could do nothing

more than look on,

feeling the ultimate third wheel.

It was a sorry preview

of the day

she would find somebody else.

They would come in a box

just like this,

their charms individually wrapped

for ease of identification

and digestion.

Maybe I'd even be the one

who introduced them.

Maybe she'd glare at me,

say, there goes my diet.

Maybe he'd be the weight

she put on. 



How else to express it

in a gift. Chocolates, it had to be.

I imagine you devouring every one

while wallowing in me.

So what if you nibble on one

and you give the rest to your kid brother.

It was the closest

to intimacy I could find.

Fruit filling in lieu of feeling.

Almonds to replicate the healing of touch.

And the sweetness of it all,

a tongue to savor

the rapture of two lovers in the dark.

All of it in a heart-shaped box.

From me to you, emblazoned with

the word of the day... "Sampler."

Debtor Prison Circa 2016 by Gerard Sarnat

The family of eight cobbles day and night,

survives on a ruthless shoestring

fashioning pedigreed plutocrats' filigreed velvet 


so at least their youngest doesn't go hungry or


Systemic beatdowns when they got sick, couldn't work

or buy bread.

Dickensian distortions --times are now different, of



Chocolate or pale, pulled over for trivial traffic violation

--tailight defunct

taking kids to see Pluto at Disneyland, cascading

expired car registration/

fines/fees, can't make bail, jail serves as a warehouse/ collection agency 

that shellacs twelve million detentions a year, most of whom are poor,

mentally ill, school failures, homeless, non-violent

substance possessors,

nada public rehab programs available --the pity the

horror the waste of it. 



A Chocolate Story by Kase


Since I was nine at the time this story takes place, my friends and I didn’t know what we were doing was wrong.  Please forgive us.  So one time at a summer daycare my friends and I found a chocolate bar.  The bathroom was a one-stall bathroom and was secluded from the lunch monitors.  My friend took the bar out of its wrapper and rolled it in his hands to look like poop.  He then went and placed it in the bathroom.  After lunch, the owner of the daycare walked in there and found the chocolate bar poop, and a random kid got in trouble—not my friends and me.  The random kid got suspended for three days.  I haven’t been at that daycare since that summer.  Now I will never look at chocolate moon bars again.

Chocolate Theft by Chance


I was sitting on the couch, and I decided to get some chocolate.  My mom called me up to do something, and I did it.  I went back to the couch, and I was about to open the wrapper, and then my dad called me.  I did what he wanted me to do, and then I went back to the couch, and my chocolate was gone.  I went to my brother’s room and asked him, “Did you eat my chocolate?” and he said, “No.”  Then I went to my sister’s room and I saw my wrapper on the floor.  I found out my sister ate it, and I was mad, because that was the last chocolate we had.  She gave me a dollar and we were fine after that.

The Chocolate Attack by Grace


                I was two years old and my dad just walked in the door from work. It felt like it had been days since the last time I saw him. I turned around and started to run towards him. What I didn't know was my dog, Bella, a chocolate lab, was just as excited as me.

I ran past the counter and was almost into his arms when I felt my feet come off the floor and I was flying through the air around and around. In her excitement Bella was spinning and picked me up by her tail as she was twirling. My mind was spinning and the five seconds I was in the air all I could think of was the hug I was going to get from my dad. My mom was screaming and my dad was trying to catch me as I was hurled across the room hitting face first into the refrigerator. Slowly, I slid down the side of the refrigerator. My hands, feet and cheeks plastered to the metal made a squeaking sound as I slid down like they do in cartoons. I hit the floor and lay there not able to catch my breath, choking on my tears.

My family ran over in shock, checking to make sure I was still conscious. I started to fill my lungs again with air. My chocolate lab was oblivious to the fact that she almost put me in the hospital. She licked my red cheek and was sent outside. To divert my attention from the pain, my parents gave me a piece of chocolate to savor. I had a huge knot on my head for a week but my family and I laugh about it still today. The 5 seconds I was in the air was too fast and shocking for me to remember, but I ask my parents to tell the story all the time.

The Dog and the Chocolate Cupcake by Katelyn


I have always loved chocolate and was introduced to it at a young age. My dog, Tucke, and chocolate are two of my favorite things, but when they mix it’s a chocolate lover's nightmare.

It was my cousin’s birthday, and we were celebrating at my house. She brought cupcakes, and I personally think I got the best one. It was a huge, triple chocolate cupcake. Chocolate chip batter with chocolate icing and chocolate sprinkles. It was heaven!

The sun was setting outside and a cool breeze blew on the trees, so I took my cupcake outside. What I didn't know then was that my dog had been thoroughly watching me and my cupcake. As I walked outside, my highly athletic dog jumped and grabbed just the icing off my cupcake! I was left with nothing but the slobbery chocolate bottom.

I was mad at Tucker for a while, but was glad he didn't get sick or hurt. I may not have gotten to enjoy the triple chocolate cupcake, but at least someone did, and I hope he liked it.


"When I was a kid, my family and I used to go skiing in Park City Utah every year. At the hotel where we stayed there was a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. A couple times each trip we would go and get apples dipped in caramel, dipped in chocolate, and we would slice them up and share them with the family. Now every time I see a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, I have to go in and get a chocolate dipped apple because it reminds me of my childhood. And, they are my favorite." -Christine, Dallas Texas

The Chocolate Egg by Tiffany Buck


         When I was eight years old, my best friend Beth and her mother Janice lived with me and my family for about a year. A slumber party every night, right? We shared a room, Beth and I. I had my little twin bed with the brass post and she had her big white princess canopy bed. We made it work. That’s what best friends and sisters do.

            A few weeks after Beth and her mom moved into our house, Easter arrived. They spent it with family in South Carolina while we spent Easter in Douglas, Georgia with our family. Beth and I both made lists for the Easter bunny. These lists included very reasonable requests like clothes, shoes, a jewelry box, earrings, and chocolate. Both of us decided late one Friday night that chocolate was the world’s most perfect food. Needless to say we did not get the shoes, clothes, or the jewelry box we wanted even though they were at the top of our list. However; we did get Merle Norman cubic zirconium earrings, a plush bunny, and chocolate. Beth’s Easter basket was loaded with chocolate. She got about fifty pieces of chocolate. I was amazed and jealous. All I got was a small bag of Hershey kisses. The rest of my candy was jelly beans. Gross. I gave them to whoever wanted them. My mother when she saw Beth’s basket of chocolate was appalled. She didn’t understand why her mother spoiled her so.

            The prized possession in Beth’s Easter basket was her gigantic Easter egg made of solid milk chocolate. She promised to share the egg with me after school started. Both of us were counting down the days until that moment. Until then, we decided to treat ourselves every Friday night with a movie and one piece of the other chocolate.

            This went on for a couple of months. Around 7:00pm every Friday night we would put in a movie which we usually got from the video store and devoured a small morsel of chocolate. That spring and summer, I remember watching Star Wars, E.T., Mary Poppins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the super scary Watcher in the Woods. The movies were great and the chocolate mixed with caramel and mint was divine. All week long I would count down the hours until our Friday night movie session.  

            One day in August after ballet class, I came home to find Beth screaming, “my egg!” My heart dropped to my stomach. The egg Beth was saving so we could eat it when school started. Only one person could have done this evil deed, my little brother Trey. While I was learning how to do an arabesque at the bar, Trey was stuffing the chocolate egg down his throat. My dad caught him biting into this thing with all his might. Trey had chocolate all over him and half of his clothes in his closet. As any eight year old would do, I yelled at Trey and told my mom that he was never allowed in my room again. Beth told us all that she hated Trey. My mom just laughed at the whole event. I think secretly she was glad the egg was gone.

            For about a week, every time Beth saw Trey she gave him the evil eye. With me, her best friend and surrogate sister she barely spoke. I was honestly ticked off at her. Like Beth, I was looking forward to eating that egg too. I was also not responsible for what my little brother does. There are just some things an only child does not understand.

-Tiffany Buck, Gainesville, GA

Favorite Chocolate: dark chocolate with sea salt