The Swim Mask

Did you take delight in the sound
of the belt on my bare legs?
Did the red welts please you?
Did you hear my stifled weeping and rejoice?

Or were you just grouchy for having
to welcome
us into your home
—you can’t turn family away, after all—
resentful of having your space invaded
while Mom and Dad got back on their feet?

Would it matter to you now, after 35 years,
if I told you
what I told you then?

Auntie, the lens of the swim mask
was already coming
out of the gasket,
and I was only trying to fix it.

No, I wasn’t hiding it behind my back
I was to blame—
I was hiding it for the same reason
prey conceals itself from the predator.

The End of a Legend: a True Story


(Image from Wikipedia. Not the real Gregory. Nor is it, evidently, the real Santa.)

Conversation with Gregory (age 6).

Him: I hear Santa’s bells at night.

Me: Really? You believe in Santa?

Him: Yeah. Don’t you?

Me: Uh . . . well, does it make any logical sense that there’s some fat bearded guy that visits every house in the world on Christmas Eve to bring presents, and that somehow he manages to bring nice presents to the rich kids and not-so-nice ones to the poor kids?

Him: Now that we talked about it, it doesn’t seem normal.

Me: So what do you think you’re hearing at night if it’s not Santa?

Him: I don’t know — crickets?

Western Dreams

For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words iconic, lithe, edgy. Also submitted to dVerse OpenLinkNight. I offer my apologies to both communities for linking when I am not sure how much I’ll be around this week to read and comment on others’ submissions. Overtime, sick kids, you know how it is sometimes. But this just rushed out of me in response to the 3WW prompt, and it had been so long since my last writing. 

Western Dreams
Dad followed a dream
out west, the iconic west,
to do better for us,
success as sure as the sun
rising. I had my own dreams
of cowboy hats and hitching posts,
of lithe flames of midnight
campfires licking the darkness,
but we lived in a house
much like our old house, and I went
to a school where the cocksure kids still
pointed fingers like blue-steel barrels.
So much the same,
yet the soil smelled different,
even the sun felt different
on the skin, like wearing
a stranger’s shirt, and Dad
grew edgy, hitting me
when the zipper of my winter coat
stuck hard in the fabric, frustration
not directed toward me, per se,
but toward life in general
and I happened to be nearest.