As I look back
It flickers on.
Before me lie
Cousins, brothers, sisters
Splayed on low ply carpet
Fidgety chins drilling holes into their fists,
Elbow to elbow
“Hey! Scoot over! I can’t see!”
A scratched phonograph record
I continue to dance to.
“Now, now you kids get along”
And we did.
I change the channel
Waiting in the warming oven
Golden edged butter rays
Radiating like mini-suns.
I watched them melt and disappear.
I heard my child-voice cheer.
Cousin Davey giving a testimonial
“Round steak and Grandma-Gravy on top of white bread taste better than Sizzler’s t-bone anyday.”
Back to our program
Bernice kneeling in a stunted strawberry patch
Sturdy hands grasping an unfortunate dandelion.
“This hard pan” she mutters
As her harrow-hand cuts rows
Into the brick
That was her stretch of land.
I wonder what’s on Channel Three?
Children lie on either sofa
A-bed for the night,
Johnny ‘Carson’s handsome face
Flirting through the glass,
Her head tossed back in laughter
Course-grey hair bouncing
And catching the dim light.
We interrupt this program to bring you a special news bulletin.
“Yahtzee!” thrice she shrieks.
Aunts, uncles, mothers and fathers chuckle
As kids mumble “I wanted Yahtzee.”
And Bernice Stuart wins it again, folks.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.
Kneading pie dough or pulling fabric
As she bent over the antique Singer sewing machine
Making secret gifts we all knew about.
Were draped velvet
For small hands to brush.
Each one of us
The softness of she
As tender whispers called in our minds:
“Those arms are just for me.”