Photo by Ann Kereselidze on Unsplash

Stryofoam memories

Jennifer Kite-Powell
2 min readJan 29

I found some memories of me on an old styrofoam cup.

I forgot I kept that cup.

It had perfectly sized bite marks all the way around the rim, petrified over time by the benzene and styrene oozing into the dimples as I had chewed around its perimeter.

It had a faint blue line circling the cup under my hardened bite, making a forensic crime scene for the perfect crime I can’t remember committing.

The cup showed signs of a struggle, a few gashes here and there that had also fossilized with time and transformed into dulled, yellow indentations of my life.

It must have been a boy or something I wanted but couldn’t have. I don’t even know why I kept it all these years.

A styrofoam cup doesn’t decay; it just preserves your emotions in polystyrene like an insect trapped in amber.

At least, there is some indication of what I was doing at the time my emotions were imprisoned in these chemicals masquerading as a cup.

I was chewing the rim of a styrofoam cup.

Was it filled with a Sonic lemon-lime soda garnished with that little plastic drink monkey they used to attach to your cup by its tail? Mine was green, it might have been pink, it was always a monkey.

Maybe I was riding around with my best friend Pam Stevenson in her dad’s 1965 white Lincoln Continental. She’d always try and steal it on a Friday night after he fell asleep in his Lazy-Boy. We’d spray our hair with enough polyvinylpyrrolidone, vegetable gums and gum arabic aka hairspray, to withstand any road wind coming our way as we crept through town to make sure everyone saw us.

Sometimes we would head to the roller rink for a few hours and skate backward to Gap Band’s Burn Rubber on Me, laughing about how cool we were to skate backward the whole entire time. But mostly, we would head to Sonic, a visceral prequel to Facebook — more dangerous, with more chance of tears or an emotional high that crippled your ability to use logic or reason.

But this cup told me nothing. It wasn’t even a Sonic cup. My hardened teeth marks just sat there revealing nothing more than I kept a cup for 40 years for no reason.

I guess it doen’t matter. Maybe it’s better I don’t remember.

I am pretty sure my memories were already released into the air, where they mixed with nitrous oxide and formed a noxious mind pollutant that someone else is already breathing.

Jennifer Kite-Powell

Speculative poet, flash fiction writer, author, podcaster & Forbes senior contributor. Read my work here, on substack or at