My best friend taught me about limbo and saints,
Showed me their stacks of National Geographic.
You had to be invited into membership, she said,
not everyone could join. I rated them against
my mother’s Ladies’ Home Journals

and felt deficient, somehow.

No wine in our Methodist kitchen cupboards.
No tuna and salmon tins
stacked up awaiting Friday.
All those cans on my friend’s mother’s shelves in limbo
all Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,

that long summer when we were still twelve.

Wanting something we didn’t yet know the name of.
Restless stirrings the little boys our age 
did not know how to respond to.
All of them inches shorter than us
 except for one—a tall country boy
new to town school,
the most innocent of all.

How we waited to be chosen—
the fact that we’d already chosen in our minds
having little consequence.
How we watched. How we kept secrets,
even from each other.

I knew what to call it, at least,
if not much else,
that summer I turned thirteen,

nothing changed.


The dVerse poets prompt is “Limbo.”

But Jimmy Cliff says it best!!!!

And “Limbo” of a different sort was two years in our future: 

20 thoughts on “Limbo

      1. Jane Dougherty

        It’s still true to a greater or lesser degree. In some places the old deference clings and it’s a harder job to dislodge it. Generally though, things are changing for the better, seems to me.


    1. lifelessons Post author

      Thanks, Grace. i always hated that, also. Now I just get up and dance with another woman friend. Only once in my life did I ever ask a man to dance and he turned me down. That did it!!


  1. M

    My apologies for replying so late – life and work intruded.

    Super cool Jimmy Cliff tune – thanks!

    That cusp of teenage-hood – whew …

    Thanks for adding to the Limbo prompt

    ~ M

    Liked by 1 person


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