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Contents Page: Oct 1, 2011, vol 7 no 3

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Autumn N. Hall

No Fig Leaves in My Garden

In the days of making outfits by matching animal tags, I had the prettiest blouse, my very favorite, its white ruffled sleeves like butterfly wings edged in yellow, orange, and green. How perfectly it coordinated with the smart plaid shorts, cuffed and belted neat. How easily it garnered my mother's nod—and her warning, always, not to get dirty.

But, maples are made for climbing, and grasshoppers made to catch. And a brush in a leftover can of Minwax is irresistible to a child of eight.

my mother's fury
spreading with the redwood stain
across white cotton
the rage in her hands as she
yanked the blouse over my head

Our front door was solid and red, like her anger; it locked with a skeleton key. Taking my top and the promise of lunch, she let it slam hard in my face.

even before breasts
the sting of shame
pricking my cheeks
the click of the deadbolt
the feeling of eyes on flesh

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