by Carolyn Bertram-Arnold
Neighbor kids make snowmen, snow angels,
and build forts for snowball fights
Then they warm inside my kitchen
in sock feet, their red cheeks exposed
beneath stocking-capped heads.
Mittened hands cradle cups of homemade
hot chocolate with mini marshmallows.
Instead, a pink plastic flamingo roosts
on the highest branch of a bent, spotted
sycamore reminding me of a feeding giraffe,
the result of Saturday night's ferocious windstorm.
The neighborhood is quiet now--the kids
in college or working at McDonald's.
The closest thing to a snowflake is
a lone dogwood spilling its white beauty
I raise my steaming cup
My mouth waters for the pink and purple clouds,
The boy's repeated cries emphasize my longing,
My steps fast forward in the direction
My mind rewinds to the summer carnivals:
and see the bearded lady. Watch the man
swallow a ball of fire...See the two-headed
Fast spinning rides make me dizzy.
Mom warned me not to waste money on games.
I take a chance on just one--the ring toss.
I know I can win a giant bottle of Coke
when I put the ring around its neck.
The man must know I can, too.
He yells when I start to toss,
and laughs when I miss by a yard.
That spoils my evening at the carnival.
like the ring toss. I plop a bite into my mouth.
Sweet disappointment melts on my tongue.
I lie in velvet darkness,
absorbing their words.
"I came across USADEEPSOUTH accidentally, but I felt at home. I've spent hours reading the poems and stories. When I read the southern expressions, I said to myself, 'I've been using most of these all my born days.' I've been published in several regional magazines and anthologies including but not limited to: APPALACHIAN HERITAGE, THE APPALACHIAN CONNECTION, GRAB-A-NICKEL, PEGASUS, KENTUCKY WRITING, and THE MOUNTAIN LAUREL."
Read another of Carolyn's stories at USADS: Permanent Disabled
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