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Painted Fences

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Painted Fences

white-sheets
The proud thing
would be
white sheets
hanging on a rope
in our back yard;
they kept us cool
at night when there
was no air; felt like mama
was hang’in us
over her pot of grits.

It always was a
proud thing to the
women on our
road, hang’in
those sheets on a
Monday morning.

Sheets of torn cloth
stretched down the center
of the back yard.
I was proud of
grandma Lynn’s white
sheets, and told her,
“Those sheets are as
white as your false teeth.”

I’ve been up and down
our dusty road look’in
at sheets and never
found any others as
clean as those hang’in
in our yard.
Our sheets, they had a
sparkle like grandma
Lynn’s smile.

Some yards had sheets
look’in like a sky
before a bad storm.
If a wind whipped
through those yards,
raising dust, no-one
much cared about their
sheets cause they already
were the color of mustard;
the dark kind we used on
our hotdog, at the county
fair.

The proud thing,
grandma Lynn told me,
happened next door and
it had noth’in to do
with white sheets.
She said, “The old
lady finally kicked
her man out.”
She’d told grandma Lynn,
“it was a mighty storm.”

My grandma said, pointing
to the next door house,
“She whispered into my
ear, told me she brought
her old man far from home
so he’d never find his way
back.”

Grandma Lynn giggled
as she remarked,
“That man’s teeth, were
like a picket fence
with all them
spaces, each one
painted a different
color.”

That was the day I
learned no man should
show too much teeth,
but I never knew the color
of teeth could kick a man
from his home.

I guess I’m like my
Grandma Lynn, we listen,
never talk back to a soul.
The only time I hear my
grandma Lynn complain,
happened on a Monday,
if those sheets had to
be scrubbed for a second
time.

It was a proud thing
have’in the cleanest
sheets on those old
dusty roads.

I was pretty proud
know’in grandma would
never be kicked out of her
home wear’in those
false teeth.

 

Painted Fences was last modified: August 17th, 2013 by Nancy Duci Denofio

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