The Things You Remember

A mint-green cotton dress
With stains on the front
Where the goose knocked you down
And sat on your belly until Mama saved you
It was auntie’s wedding day
And now you were all dirty
And what would people say?
At 4, who gets dirty at 4?

Grandpa leaning down to your ear
Oh! He was a big, wonderful Irish man
Old Spice and pipe tobacco
Lifted his monstrous arm to the sky
He pointed to the soaring hawk
Except you think he said “hog”
With feathers and a screeching cry?
And since when do pigs fly?

White, cable-knit tights
Patent leather shoes
Sunday best, always in a pew
Then to Grandma’s for Sanka and Seven-up
Pink and tan and chocolate Keebler wafers
Sadness–no one ever picked the vanilla
At least not you

The stuffed animals in your bed
How you rotated their proximity to the center
So they could take turns sleeping next to you
You didn’t want anyone to be ignored
On the perimeter
To have hurt feelings
To get cold

You used to wake up in the middle of the night
Frost inside the windows and under
Your fingernails and on your lips
Smothered under a ton of blankets
And a red coat with smelly faux fur
Who wears a coat to bed?
You did
I saw it
I remember it
Like it was me

 

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Inspired at 4 a.m. by a beautiful poem There Will Be Things You Do  by Kim Dower