Benevolence, Georgia

by Emma Ditzel

When I think about 1945, I think about peaches.
Sweet and fuzzy with a fat, brown pit smack in the center.

I remember biting into a fresh May peach from the backyard
when my mother ran into the kitchen crying the war was over.

I was twelve. Mother hugged Aunt Bev and they cried into the nape
of each other’s neck while I licked my sticky fingers and tried not to

dribble on the floor. They started calling it Victory Day but to me,
in southern Georgia, the only victories that day were the three peaches

I ate while sitting on the kitchen floor. My mother stayed inside all day
to listen to the radio. I collected the eggs like I did every morning.

I waved at the mailman. I picked more peaches
from the tree in the yard and thought of ways to politely

ask my mother if she would bake a pie. Aunt Bev cried all day
that Uncle Frank would come home soon. I put the eggs in the cupboard.

The static drone of the radio, summer cicadas. I went outside
to wait for fireflies and watch the sun abandon another day.   

A furry yellow caterpillar climbed on my bare foot. It was a Tuesday.
The boys next door were playing cops and robbers, finger guns in hand.

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