Five daughters, in the slant light on the porch, are bickering. The eldest has come home with new truths she can hardly wait to teach. She lectures them: the younger daughters search the sky, elbow each others’ ribs, and groan. Five daughters, in the slant light on the porch and blue-sprigged dresses, like a stand of birch saplings whose leaves are going yellow-brown with new truths. They can hardly wait to teach, themselves, to be called “Ma’am,” to march high-heeled across the hanging bridge to town. Five daughters. In the slant light on the porch Pomp lowers his paper for a while, to watch the beauties he’s begotten with his Ann: these new truths they can hardly wait to teach. The eldest sniffs, “A lady doesn’t scratch.” The third snorts back, “Knock, knock: nobody home.” The fourth concedes, “Well, maybe not in church. . .” Five daughters in the slant light on the porch.
Reprinted with permission of Louisiana State University Press from The Homeplace, by Marilyn Nelson Waniek. Copyright © 1990 by Marilyn Nelson Waniek. All rights reserved.