It was a windy and cold November when we
moved. Calico leaves fluttered ’round the ground
of the green house with the squeaky porch swing
and white picket fence. I tasted the icy, shriveled
grapes that clung low to the vine in the back yard.
The three curved cement stairs seemed steep
as I climbed
to the front door.
Inside, there was not much furniture
which made more space to skip and play —
Then I saw my room.
It was just a small place in the west corner.
The walls were calamine pink, and made of raised
stucco that would stick me if I brushed too close.
Next to my bed the two long windows were draped
with faded brown material. A slight protrusion
in the ceiling above my head created the silhouette
of an ugly witch that tormented me nightly until
my Mama brought me warm milk.
With her short black hair and doe-like eyes
Mama always smelled like red roses
when she kissed me goodnight.
I remember other nights that I remained restless
because after the lights were out, Gargoyle
monsters would peek and snicker at me
from my closet
when the door was left ajar.
Because of these moments, and the
roaring thunderous nights, Mama hung a lit
Jesus picture on the wall next to my bed
to protect me.
but she had no Jesus picture next to her bed —
Who protected Mama?
Copyright Library of Congress 1989/01
**The above printed material is copyrighted, is registered with the Library of Congress and is the property of Sharon Palmeri. Permission is needed before use. Thank you! *S* **