The Children of Bethlehem

By Homer Mitchell

My family once visited Bethlehem, PA, and we were surprised to find, instead of the expected original sacred manger, the Peeps factory, and there we discovered how these popular Easter-time marshmallow chicks are made. Had we been prepared, we would have brought two dozen live chicks which would have paid for our family’s admission.

But we had come ignorant and empty-handed, and so had to stand outside the vast brick building like pariahs, reluctant to leave, the spring air thick with countless tiny yellow feathers frolicking with the spring breezes, listening hard to the cacophony of frantic peeps emanating from the input side of the factory, as overwhelming and evocative as the choruses of tiny tree frogs in the spring.

And from the output side—silence, broken only by the hum of the forklift, the harsh scraping of loaded pallets upon the tractor trailer floors, and the giggles and squeals of the children of Bethlehem, lined up for the daily sharing of the rejects.


Homer Mitchell’s poems and short stories have appeared in The Southern Review, Comstock Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Blueline, Wind Magazine, and other literary journals and anthologies. A retired instructor of English at SUNY Cortland (NY), he lives in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York.

Art by Lesley C.Weston (Digital)

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