by Ron Yazinski
To get from my car to my mother’s house,
I have to step over the chalked body outline of a young girl.
She and her little brother are preparing for adulthood
By tracing each other on the concrete.
I am careful not to smear the chalk.
As I sit down next to her on her porch
My mother rolls her eyes.
On the neighbor’s porch is the grandmother,
Red-faced and smoking, flicking the butt of her cigarette
Into the grass where months of others lie.
In the distance, black clouds announce their approach
With a crack of thunder.
“Get in here now,” the red-faced woman commands.
At first the young girl ignores her,
As she works her way around her brother’s hand,
Then adds the artistic license of a dropped gun.
“I said now.”
“I will when I’m finished, you old bitch.”
The girl snaps back,
As the first drops splatter on the sidewalk.
“You wouldn’t talk like that if your grandfather was here.”
“Well, call his prison
“And tell him he can beat me again
“In three years when he gets out.”
The rain falls more steadily,
As the grandmother tries another approach.
“You’ll get sick out there.
“Besides the rain will wash away anything you do”
The girl stands up straight and helps her little brother off the ground,
Who runs past his grandmother as the lightning flashes.
The young girl smashes her chalk on the sidewalk,
“Only a mean old bitch would say something like that.”