|Summer Evening, Edward Hopper, 1947|
End of Youth
Summer I turned six
Walker Air Force Base
Officer brats playing with abandon
Parents drunk on relief
All were back from Korea
Safe in SAC.
All I remembered
Is I was late for dinner
Neighbors on their porches
Catching the desert air
A sip of Mexican vodka
In gaudy Juarez glasses
The tinkling of ice over laughter.
I slipped in the back door
Limped to the bathroom
Cold water burning on fresh cuts
A whine escaping my lips
Please let them not hear
I begged some unknown god
That had protected Dad over unknown land.
But I guess you have to believe
To get special protection
And where was this god in that garage
Where were my parents then
Why hadn't they missed me at dinner
"You're in trouble," my brother said
As I climbed into the top bunk.
"And you too," I whispered back in the dark
"Especially if I tell you left me there"
Oh, and by the way it ends here
All the special protection I have provided you
You no longer have a big sister little brother
That person is now dead
I thought as I curled in upon myself.
Summer I turned six youth ended
I knew I was alone
Against boys bigger than me and little brothers
Sticks and stones can break bones I would learn
Not being missed breaks hearts
There is no special god of deliverance
In a Roswell summer night.
Image and prompt for Magpie 77 was provided by Tess Kincaid at Magpie Tales.