Sunday Afternoon

In Response to the Cokie Roberts book my mother bought me whose title taunts me.

In the old room at the front of the house
Piled with boxes higher than my shoulders
Paved with grey carpeting barely to be seen
Beneath the papers and tokens of the past
Where I'd be slapped if I were seen,
Overlooking the roof of the garage
And the neighbors in their yards
On a warm dark misty January afternoon
Two of three shades grayer than white
I considered climbing onto the roof
But lethargy held me from exploration.

I looked at the green of the January lawn
To the dog on a walk within the electric fence
And the mother holding his leash
Prancing him past the hedges,
I Considered the latch on the window
And the paper-coated desk over which I'd have to climb
Like the vines of a walk through the woods to the stream
That upon the first site reminded me of West Virginia
And the tangles of brush that once a challenge
Had become a permanent deterrent. 

The potted plants sitting dead in their dry soil
The ceramic cats and plastic pines
And swags of LED lights
Were wilderness.

I looked to the dog
And saw that the figure was not the mother 
But the girl who moved in at the age of four
Now in fifth grade and holding the leash.

I felt the encroachment of age and domesticity
And wondered if it were too late for me
On a month home from college
At the age of seventeen.

I imagined her angry words 
For my trespass within the home that was never mine
But always claimed to be—
She was pummeling me, rolling me flat
Into a ball of dough she would drop in the oven
That would rise and rise and soon sit on the table:
A blue ribbon loaf, blue ribbon child,
"She looks just like her mother."

The End

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