I Used to Eat Red

                                                                  I Used to Eat Red

daily life color108 (1)My sister Patti and I, posed by my older sister Betty.  Those are “the” cherry trees behind us. The fact that we were wearing dresses suggests we were just home from Sunday school and church, our souls bleached as white as our shoes and socks!

 I used to eat red
from backyard cherry trees,
weave yellow dandelions
into cowgirl ropes
to lariat my Cheyenne uncle.

I once watched dull writhing gold
snatched from a haystack by its tail,
held by a work boot
and stilled by the pitchfork of my dad
who cut me rattles while I didn’t watch.

 I felt white muslin bleached into my soul
on Sunday mornings in a hard rear pew,
God in my pinafore pocket
with a picture of Jesus
won from memorizing psalms.

But it was black I heard at midnight from my upstairs window––
the low of cattle from the stock pens

on the other side of town––
the long and lonely whine of diesels on the road
to the furthest countries of my mind.

Where I would walk
burnt sienna pathways
to hear green birds sing a jungle song,
gray gulls call an ocean song,
peacocks cry the moon

until I woke to shade-sliced yellow,
mourning doves still crooning midnight songs of Persia
as I heard morning
whistled from a meadowlark
half a block away.

And then,
my white soul in my shorts pocket,
plunging down the stairs to my backyard,
I used to eat red,
pick dandelions yellow.

 (This is a reworking of a poem from my book Prairie Moths.) The prompt today was to talk about our earliest childhood memories.  https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/childhood-revisited/

26 thoughts on “I Used to Eat Red

  1. judyreeveswriter

    I love this poem, Judy. Thank you for reminding me of “Prairie Moths.” I haven’t opened it since I returned home, but will today, just to read more of your gorgeous writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lifelessons Post author

      Thanks, Judy. I’ve edited it since you read it. Of course! And added a pictures. I once heard of a very famous painter whom they had to banish from the museum because they kept finding him inside repainting his paintings!!! I am like this with my blogs. Every time I read them, I omit a comma, adjust a word. Pick, pick!


  2. Glenda Martin

    I remember this poem from your book “Prairie Moths.” Such an aware little girl you were, to be able to set me down in that time and place by way of the senses, as if I’d been there living it too. Now I can glimpse and feel a stage I had missed experiencing in our developing fertile America. Sweet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lifelessons Post author

      What a nice comment to come home to. Thanks so much for voicing your appreciation for my poem. Look forward to reading yours!! photo/poetry/art–sounds familiar to me!!!


    1. lifelessons Post author

      When I was in the first grade, I drew a picture that was so close to a famous painting I later saw in the Louvre. We are all connected in ways we feel but sometimes don’t acknowledge.


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  5. Pingback: “I Used to Eat Red” reblogged | lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

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