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 (LMSW) is a social worker and school bus driver. He taught literature and writing for nearly 20 years and spent 3 years working in forensic social work internships with offending populations, including work at Delaware Correctional facilities and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He has a PhD in literature and criticism (feminism/women writers) from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Master of Social Work from Louisiana State University, and an interdisciplinary Master of Liberal Arts from Arizona State University, where he studied the impact of visual image and girlhood in media/social media. He also has an MA and BS in English from SUNY College at Brockport. The opinions and analyses that Earl writes are his own and are not necessarily the positions or views of his employers, the agencies he supports, or that of his colleagues. Reach out with comments or questions.