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Showing posts from January, 2019


Gifted      with needle and thread, you      smocked my baby clothes, little girl dresses you      embroidered with cats and daisies, eyelet-ruffled pinafores,      frilly petticoats finished with a      grosgrain ribbon trim – your own exquisite handiwork. Crisp paper patterns      laid out on the dining room table,      patterns pinned with straight pins –      I can see it - I come home from school, there you      are with straight pins clamped between      your teeth, pinking shears in hand,      you shape my next new frock – I see your shoulders’ gentle curve as you      lean forward, guiding cloth      under the Singer’s clacking needle,      treadle whirring, whirring softly. A Bo-Peep dress you fashion from      crepe paper, cotton-candy pink,      costume for my third-grade play, the last lines of daylight slant      through the blinds as you hurry,      hurry to finish by suppertime. By lamplight, late at night, yo


PRIMATES Up here, where the road dips into hollows that hardly ever see the sun, the mail comes in a beat-up Dodge Ram.   Jonathan Blair’s daddy has been the mail carrier on this route all my life.  Jonathan was my boyfriend in seventh grade.  I hear he’s on a scholarship at the university in Johnson City, the same place my mother is working on her nursing degree.  I hear Jonathan wants to make a lawyer and come back home to work for legal aid.  I know for a fact Mama won’t be back.     Mr. Blair hands me a big Priority Mail package.  “Hey, Rochelle, you having a birthday or something?” His smile is lopsided like Jonathan’s, but without the dimple.  “Yep, tomorrow,” I answer.  “You must be about twenty.” “Yep.” “Jonathan turned twenty back in the spring.” April second, I could say.  He missed being born on April Fool’s day by nine minutes.  Jonathan dumped me in eighth grade, but what they say about your first boyfriend is the truth, you remember ev