As a kid, I knew I couldn’t turn the tide of Mama’s rage,
but I remember cowering off to the side
& trying to figure if I could lower the pitch & heat of it,
as if I were on the periphery of a fire,
angling to stay safe while hoping to douse it.
My next-younger sister got most of Mama’s
belting,hitting, slapping, & pinching.
We shared a bedroom, an island in the awful,
& when she left home, this sister became famous.
Mama cached food. Like a red squirrel she hid it &, when times got tough,
I bet she thought
“oh well when that Sumner & those damn kids are asleep,
at least I’ll have my Nonpareils.”
But, unlike the Red Squirrels
who know survival depends on eating the most nutritious pine cones 1st,
she had self-destructive habits.
Sometimes in the AM I’d see leftover tea & tiny white sprinkles.
I licked them. They were w/out equal.
Me at college?
Knee Socks. Brown, patterned, chunky or acrylic stretch;
they went w/ my high school-era Bermuda’s, penny loafers,
matching beret & Pendleton plaid jacket,
maybe layered w/ an orange turtle neck; the outfit completed
w/ a green, pull tie school bag from the 50’s hung over my shoulder.
Yes, I had short dresses & short hair & minimal underwear
like all girls in the 60’s, but I loved those socks.