Birth Days

Some birthdays are easy to remember like when the family got together and my favorite aunt bought a cake that set the bar for all cakes proceeding it. A January birthday meant I could wear the dress my gramma made for Christmas. Uncle Clifford snapped a Kodachrome memory.

On birthday number five, all my friends set at the extended dining room table. I remember the balloons. I remember blowing into a red balloon and it expanded out and away and I swear it grew nearly as long as the table.

celebrate the day

when no one wants to destroy

and a new birth comes

Birth Days

Picking Cotton

MEMORIES of cotton picking days

picked along with men and women

all over the South

people of all colors

fourteen footer dragged behind

filled with cotton

picked from each boll

start when you’re old enough

to hold a sack

sang in harmony

as we picked

infant scooting behind

too small to pick

“cotton on the roadside

cotton in the ditch

we all picked cotton

but we never got rich”

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photo from SMU Degolyer Library

Picking Cotton

When I Think About Rooms

When I think about rooms

the one that encompassed me

front door corridor

entryway

dark hardwood door

no windows

rarely used

darker in its none use

where no one went in or out

(always the side door)

but this room

with its front door

that held a way in and out

held me as a three year old

who sat on the bench

with hinged top for boot or shoe

other side was closet

a closet rarely opened

such a small room

for my small person

remembered now

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NaPoWriMo prompt on describing a room remembered

When I Think About Rooms

Ninth Grade English Class

It was the ninth grade, in Sophie Pouch’s English class, we passed the reading of Macbeth from reader to reader until it went all around the classroom yet still was not done. The next day we did it again and again, when finally, it was finished.

And Shakespeare’s words went out into those hallways of the school with a morning greeting of “How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags?” as we congregated around our lockers. A commanding response of “Speak. Demand. We’ll listen.” “Had I three ears, I’d hear thee.” And on it went into our school day.

Autumn moonlight—
a worm digs silently
into the chestnut. Basho

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dVerse prompt to consider Shakespeare and Basho in a haibun. I will never forget Sophie Pouch’s ninth grade English class.

Ninth Grade English Class

Opposites

I was in my mother’s kitchen. It is autumn and she is about to die. Years later my father died in the springtime. They were opposites like that. Mom was a believer. Dad said, “When you’re dead, you’re dead.” Mom was always nice to people and dad would care less. Dad drank himself into a stupor and my sober mother always helped to carry him home, or to rehab.

My mother’s kitchen was her workshop and out of it came strawberry rhubarb pie, fudge brownies, fudge, meringue on pies or simply cooked on a baking sheet, peanut butter cookies she would crisscross with a fork, peanut brittle, anise candy, cinnamon rolls, French breakfast puffs and tapioca pudding. She loved sweets.

My father’s workshop was in the basement, just like his father before him. Every tool was hung up in order across the wall over a huge workbench. Those tools hung so perfectly, waiting for him to pick them up and build something, anything. 

place with no seasons

where nothing ever happens

sad to imagine

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Haibun prompt at dVerse about Spring

Opposites

Smoke Signals

From a distance

your face looks like an old man 

with a beard

as I move closer

it is only your chin

I cannot shake 

the image of beard

Growing up

I learned of European explorers

Puritans on the Mayflower

friendly Indians

never a mention

that I was living in a

post-genocidal nation

who had dropped

the first atomic bomb

after fire bombing Tokyo 

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dVerse prompt on smoke and mirrors

Smoke Signals

Togetherness

It was the end of summer.  The family had spent a few weeks in Iowa where my mother was now in hospice because of cancer.  Both grandchildren spent time at her bedside and played with cousins, saw  aunts and uncles and enjoyed the rare occasion of the whole family being together.

My younger sister would be the nurse.  She had the training.  I was worthless and returned home so the children could start school.  In a few days I got the call.  I booked a ticket to leave the next day.  The children wanted to know why I was going again, since I had just been there.

When your mother dies, you go there.

Togetherness

Yellowjackets

A yellowjacket is not a bee

it is aggressive

stings multiple times

eats meat and honey bees

My daughter stepped in a hive

we were walking in the woods

off trail when buzzing

erupted out of the ground

Run I yell

we all ran towards our house

I licked her three year old’s wounds

with baking soda and kind words

love that child with all her stings

Yellowjackets