Pecha Kucha of uncategorized memories
by Scarlett Peterson
In the wake of loss, I come to be. New
child to replace the children that could not
What can I say about this? The gold necklace,
my names: Southern Belle and Cigar, the pink
I must have worn.
My first curls, same auburn as my mother’s:
a toy telephone, my toothlessness,
the denim and cross-stitch.
I remember the roll of my body down the hill,
not the embers against my skin. The fire nearly
out and I, the tumbling extinguant.
The infant gator in my arms, electric-taped mouth,
four clawing feet, the flash of the camera before tossing
a bag-full of marshmallows down to its mother.
My plucking the snowdrops and daffodils, insistent
the bouquets would survive. Then the fading petals,
orange going grey on the mantle.
My child-hands guiding pen, marker, crayon
over fresh green paint, drawing the imaginary
friend I’d been told to have.
The stupid pinks I embraced, the many glossy
covers I wore down, noting the someday, the
The white domes of fabric, foam strapped
to my chest, the finally, the milk-chugging
I thought might help them grow.
Kinking the hose before releasing the sprinklers
in the middle of a bloom-sick flowerbed, the wet
crest of my skin in the sun.
The red soccer ball, kicked dizzy in the front yard,
how I never knew what to do with it, just kick
and follow, kick and follow.
How I clung to the strange boy at private school,
how we sucked the nectar off honeysuckle stamen
along the hedgeline.
All of those hours turning pages, stories I can’t recall
about cherry lifesavers, vampires lauding bodies like
mine, everyone living in the end.
The little oval of her, how I hand-stitched a blanket blue
and dappled with cartoon characters, her early arrival,
her brown eyes.
In the cinder-block halls, a hug for any body turned my way,
an open lap for the lesbian in chemistry, her shaggy-laugh,
the bobbing lilt of it.
How we packed the car as full as we could, two boxes
of shoes left behind, the pair of steep sandals I replaced
The rupture of it, the crying-pain of a collapsing star
in the ovary. White-hot and sinister, a reminder, an
The thud-clap popping of my ears at takeoff, the frosted
windows above the ocean, then the landing, the hit-skid
How I painted my eyes greener for the wedding, walked
cobblestones in a town I used to home-call,
the absence I surrender.
The flaying of me under the lights, markered incision
points cut and reshaped. How I woke up lighter, less
of something, whole.