I Used to Eat Red
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.
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/