Monday, August 27, 2012



I knew how to vanish when he was on the prowl:
Leave a screen ajar on one side of the house
then slide between moldy wall and the clawfoot tub.
Enough room if you seldom eat, if you breathe
shallow and silent. Search will move outdoors
until Mama is back from the store. One December
I sat in plain view, the corner of my grandparents' parlor
while my parents drank coffee and went over the presents
bought and hidden. I did not move a twitch, I closed
my eyes. It is true they cannot see you as well if your
eyes are shut. They wearily planned and bickered.
sure I was with the rest at the playground. That night
alone in the dark I practiced the delight I must show
at a doll I did not want. We were awakened early
the next day, still not Christmas, and told to dress
without fuss, we were being driven to a surprise.
My brothers clamored, demanding to know where.
Mama snapped Bill's overalls and ignored it all
with a rare grin. I pulled up my tights before dropping
into a moment of silence "The animal park. They're taking
us to see lions." My mother's face showed fear mixed with
her startle, and my older brother's fury at being left out
was worth my brief scuttle from cover.


© Maggie Jochild, 27 August 2012, 9:01 p.m.

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