One morning on my way to school
I grabbed a bottle of orange pills from
our window ledge – the one facing
Seneca Street- where
Mother would watch me when I left
to fetch something from the
I took her pills from the ledge, stuffed
the bottle into the pocket of my freshly starched
pink, flowered dress.
Now, Mother’s pills were mine – I would live
forever; hiding behind Grandmother’s bushes, near
red beans growing on green vines, beans I would
use to make mud pies. I removed the top.
All those orange pills stared at me, as
if they had eyes – eyes like those who
lived in our neighborhood.
I took one – chewed it – started to
walk; first past Charlies Grocery – he
wasn’t in his rocker chewing on a cigar –
I walked down Avenue A toward my
school – noticed one of Mother’s friends
beating a rug against the railing of her porch.
She never looked my way, so I
took another orange pill from a tiny bottle,
and chewed it, as if it were a baby aspirin, glanced
back toward the porch, waved to Mother’s
friend, while I sneaked the bottle back into
I thought, I must have taken enough to live –
“Twinkle – Twinkle little star…”
Humming the same song while leaning
my head against the push out window
of our Studebaker.
“How I wonder what you are?”
I began to draw stick figures on the window
of our car – I can still remember pushing those
push out windows, closing them, drawing,
I did this over and over – rubbing the window
clean it – breathing onto glass, rubbing it,
breathing, rubbing, breathing, drawing, erasing,
drawing, erasing – exhaling, breathing, drawing,
and erasing it –
“Up above the world so high….”
I believe it was my first time to fly.