Collaboration: Day 31

What Do You Remember, Do You Forget?

Screen door slams, mom screams:
“Frog outta here!” “Ribbit Ribbit.”
Big trouble for my sister and me
digging in the goo of our freshly-tarred
street. Memorable turpentine baths.

Sitting in an Apricot tree, sticky
fruit galore, throwing pits next door.
Playing Hide and Seek, no one dared
look for me up in the tall walnut tree.
It gave them chills, as they feared heights.

Sweltering afternoon, city pool,
stepping on sticky pink Laffy Taffy.
Reckless, playing with monstrous waves,
my feet rarely reaching to the bottom!

I am Glinda the Good Witch
and my baby sister is Toto.
My chunky child-fingers peel back
gift wrap to reveal the neighbor boy’s father’s
wood-and-brass military plaque, joyfully received.

My pricey Madame Alexander doll—
playing the part of Juliet— threw herself off
the balcony of our NYC apartment, only
to fall on my grandfather’s workshop
windowsill, and oh was my mom mad.

Fleeing to the lake, toting my sack
lunch, begging refuge. Camping
by the lake with family, fresh fish
for breakfast with fried potatoes,
biscuits and gravy. Heavenly!

All summer, lungs aching, playing
sharks and mermaids in the pool.
Summer sun, the buzz of bees,
the taste of honeysuckle…. joy

Climbing a tree in first grade with
my best friend Jason; the jealous
kids chanting “Natalie and Jason
kissing in a tree!” Six years old
and we got married in the muddy
drain pipes. Best day ever.

Big poofball of Hydrangeas picked
haphazardly from my Grandma’s bush—meant
as an “I love you” gift from a toddler.
It held the extra “gifts” inside—
“Aahh! Maleficients!”— creepy earwigs.

Snow-stranded at my friend’s house,
we played “Blue” on repeat.
Skinny neglected child walking down
Lysol-scented corridor at Juvenal hall.
Believing I must be adopted, not fitting in.

I sat, crossed-legged on my bed,
with a dictionary as a desk. A book
and earphones my only means of escaping
further dysfunction and cacophony.
Family devotions ends with Lord’s Prayer,
on Sundays the 23rd Psalm.

The brain reweaves its neuron web.
Suspect every memory. Retrieve
and rewrite (retrieve and rewrite)
to achieve the lies you need.

Original prompt: Write one line about a childhood memory.

Raine Lefaivre-Naggi, Burcu Misirli Chatham, Natalie Champion, Rick Champion, Cindi Neisinger, Renee Mosher Pierce, Magdalena Nunez, Debby Johnson, Steve Perry, Dar Stone, Vicki Broach, Kamelyta Noor, Douglas McCulloh, Robin Longfield, Cindy Bousquet Harrie, Becca Spence Dobias, Kris Lovekin, Stevie Taken, Gudelia Vaden, Stephanie Barbe Hammer, Julianna Cruz, Frances Borella, Nan Friedley, Cati Porter