From our Classic Archives, originally published November/December 2003 issue

When I was little, I waited for Christmas
not for the presents under the tree
but for the chocolate coins in my stocking.

How they shone like pirate treasure!
How they tumbled in my hands,
so rich and heavy!

Sometimes I would peel off the thick
foil all in one piece, other times bit by bit,
the pale gold giving way
to reveal the sweet dark candy underneath.

You can’t catch me with a ring and a pretty rock,
but there’s one bit of bullion I’ll still come to:
you can buy my heart with chocolate,
and we’ll pretend it’s legal tender
just between the two of us.

You can cover me in coins
the color sunlight
and make believe that you’ve rescued  me
from the dragon’s cave.
We can lie on comforters the color of honey
and fall back on cushions as dark as cocoa.
We will make love
milk and dark and bittersweet
until it melts in our mouths
leaving the whole world lined in gold.
—Sheela Ardrian, Illinois