They are scattered
Maybe all but gone now,
But I wish for a hint
In seeing them shine, then
A beautiful kind of embarrassment
for you, and for me.
That first day I was trembling hard
Away from mommy, the first time, pulled
From her smile and mommy’s tender-warm love
to the looming pale-green dome
of bus number 46 in ’76,
Toward the cold, stern and tired eyes of Mrs. Katsomethingorother.
I spell it wrong now, and would get Mr. Yuckystock’s paddle.
Him, too, I misspell, but I don’t misspell you, Renee.
But she put me with the tall and pretty blonde, more like a mantis than a unicorn,
but so pretty was she,
with long and lovely legs, for a child.
She knew I would not cry or tell,
So, she kicked me hard for my sins
I had yet to commit.
Black and blue shins
All up and all down.
Her eyes flashed with a hatred,
I know not why,
But I summed up the courage and stood up
No longer peeing in my pants
Too afraid to ask
I said, with big eyes and trembling voice,
“May I sit next to Renee?”
With long red hair and a timid, shy face,
Glaring down at her coloring book,
I and she seldom said a word
For 9 months
we sat together.
You were the first girl … I asked.
You, were beautiful Renee,
Kind and feminine and lived at the
End of a road
Whenever I see a little girl
With red hair and freckles,
I think of you.
She is iridescent, like you,
And, I, the hopeful child again,
Just wanting to have a true friend.
Just a moment,
a tiny part of my childhood back,
one lost through poverty and neglect
even if no bigger than a fading freckle of our childhood’s past.
Earl Yarington is a social worker and bus driver. He taught literature and writing for nearly 20 years and spent 3 years working in forensic social work.