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July 2013, vol 9, no 2

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Erika Lee Williams


My sister and I had exhausted our imaginations probing the visible and invisible limits of two rooms. We ventured into cold early spring to examine the ditch between our place and the highway. Not far from the door, we met a rat that quickly scuttled to the shelter of a scrap pile. I peered in and saw too many shadows squirming, too many eyes. From then on, we only went outside when it was time to go to school or our old house, now "Dad's house". We were cozy in the room that was bedroom and living room to the three of us – in spite of the reek of the natural gas that had almost put our cat Friskey to sleep. We laughed at The Pirates of Penzance, we laughed at Ray Stevens – we laughed when Mom laughed. When she found a better place in a nearby town, she couldn't take us with her, she said, because Dad would fight for us, and he would win.

drought dust
little strawberries grow
on a forgotten vine