October 14, 2015 § Leave a comment
When I’m four I have a birthday party at the Country Club
to which every little pre-kindergarten Gray and all the cousins are invited,
all the kids of Daddy’s childhood chums, Mama’s former colleagues,
members of the church, the club—over a hundred.
Or so I’m told; I don’t remember it at all.
What I remember from that age is sitting in the bathtub every night,
sucking water from the washrag, spewing it at Bill.
Mama and Daddy grow up in the Great Depression,
meet and marry during the War,
bring me into the world, then Bill,
and we move into Brookwood.
The girls don’t come till later.
Then all hell breaks loose.
Most of my early years are governed
by one of our several “colored” maids
who do what low-class white wives do themselves.
The summer after third grade, I’m almost nine,
I know Mama’s fat but I don’t think I know why.
(Do they tell me?)
And when I come home from camp
our house is twice the size it used to be.
A family of six needs more than six rooms.