Counting to Five

by June Labyzon

I'm stepping away from you
with all the grace of a
bull in a china shop.
I grunt and groan as
my feet tangle
in my throat,
left like my hands
falling backwards
I'm stepping away
1, 2,3,4,5

Late summer of 1950,
I am dressed in a yellow cotton pinafore,
balancing myself on a pair of metal roller skates.
My mother, pregnant with my brother, is
bent over me tightening the skates
onto my blue and white Keds, with
a shiny silver key. She pulls herself
up, sticks the key into the pocket of my dress
"so it won't get lost,"
walks me to the corner,
lets go of my hand, runs back to the stoop
and faces me. She is smiling as she holds her arms
out beckoning me to skate to her.
1, 2,3,4,5.

Within four inches of my destination, I fall.
My yellow dress is now splattered
with patches of roses. Mother is immediately in
front of me wiping my tears and cleaning
my wound. She takes my hand and walks me
back to the corner once again. My eyes plead with
her back. I begin again.

My mother sits on the cement step
talking to my Aunt Tina, smilingly looking
past me. I'm not sure she's watching.
Her words intermingle
with my steps. I walk-skate
until dusk, without falling.
1, 2,3,4,5.
I'm stepping away from you
with all the grace of a
bull in a china shop.
I discovered I have a
box of trick candles.
I grunt and groan
as I repeatedly
attempt to blow
them out.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5.


Posted on 11/16/2014
Copyright © 2021 June Labyzon

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Philip F De Pinto on 11/17/14 at 04:38 PM

entirely touching, this. 12345. mom may be gone, and perhaps even little girl Junie, but the memories are elephants, persistently remembering.

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