a poem a day for a year #29

by Amy Turn Sharp


one of my earliest memories

is inside of a very Miss Havisham house

my mother and her church friends

ladies

in their twenties and dressed like the 70's

bright beam in my mind

big hair and frosted lips

talked to me like a dolly dimple

they all sat inside of this old cottage

a dump

a mess of a house

and she was so so old

and I was so so young

I sat on my mother's lap

small and perfect polyester

her gold earrings made music in my ear

her cleavage

so deep and interesting

and she had told me not to touch anything

and not to take anything offered

her face so close to my face

I could smell spearmint gum hot and wonderful

sit still and be a good girl

 

the old lady

I am not sure why we were there

home visit

shut in

witness

bibles

can I get a hallelujah?

 

but the old lady got up and went into her cave kitchen

her back bent

her hands snarled

like tree roots

her skin see through blue

she passed a pink plate round the circle

everyone politely declined

they drank Tab

they probably smoked

they were pin thin

and the plate came under my nose

and before my mom could do anything

I snatched the little cake

and popped it into my mouth

and my mom gasped

as quietly and with as much grace

as one can

while gasping

 

I am sure it was unclean

old lady poo hands

she was a crazy old lady

they whispered about her in the driveway

 

I am sure it was the moment too

that I can go back to

and pull a ruler across

my mind

mark measure the beginnings of my rebellion

 

I kinda always knew

I would grab for the shiny tempting things of life

even when they were not

good

gold

the expectation far brighter

than the taste

I always knew

did you?