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July 17, 2015

The old woman looks at the calendar. A frightened child, barely 14 years old, cries within the old woman.  Crying because both the old woman and the sad little girl remember that Friday, July 17th is the day and date her mother died so many years ago. Images, sounds and smells, faces and touch surround the old woman. She finds words, words melting into childhood remembrances, twisting and turning, becoming a poem. The old woman is me, sending the poem into the ether, releasing the child for all times.

THE SCREENED PORCH EVENING

The heat of the summer day
settles down on the evening with a crush.
The child chills her thighs
against the cool of the red clay tile floor.
She chews the end of her pigtail.
Waiting.

The Grandmother sluffs the porch swing
with her slippers
back and forth
back and forth
Waiting.

The Grandfather smokes
Between-the-Acts miniature cigars
hiding,
hiding behind the
Saturday Evening Post.
Waiting.

Cicadas cry from the oak trees.
Waiting.
Lightning bugs flash a signal
an alarm
Waiting.

The screen door slams open.
The Father, immobile in the doorway,
“The waiting is over”, he says.
“She’s gone.  7:15 tonight”.
He collapses into the arms of
the Grandmother, his mother.

“She’s gone”.
The Child’s Mother.
My Mother.

I stretch my legs, my arms
my chest, my cheek.
Finding the cool comfort of
the red clay tiles.
The cicadas cry.
Lightening bugs glitter.
Only me –
Alone.
Chewing my pigtail.

Friday, July 17, 1942