One girl in the
group of rowdy kids,
mature enough
to smile at me
as an equal,
sits reading.
A junior high
with boys on the
cover who look
like no juniro
high boy I’ve
ever seen.
The dream starts
I wore a khaki
straight skirt,
my first,
which my mother
had made for me
with an ivy
league buckle
on the back.
We were on our
to Arizona,
preparing to move
for myu mother’s
health, one last
ditch effort to
save her life.
I had to stop
at the seamtress’
house on th4e way,
so that I culd
take the skirt.

My cousin compli-
mented me
on it. She was
a cousin by marriage,
of course.
And knew, I’m sure
the whole sad tale.
The move.
The skirt.

But she was that
way,t he one who forgave me
for chewing erasers
from the pencil tip,
who laughed
in a way people
in my family
never did.
A married cousin
I always wrote
to her after
they moved
out West
and before we had.

She died young
I had stopped
writing by then.
They came to visit
once when I was
grown & as I watched
her chase my daughter
around the house
I knew hor right
I had been.
I think she was
the only one
who complimented me
on the skirt,
which was as
powerful asa clothes
always are.
I knew it would
change something
though I did not
exactly what.


work on order