And I Remember Mother And Father And - Poem by Katherine Coolage
I remember a mother, pretty and dark with deep eyes and all her teeth, with a big pearl through her ear.
I remember the stray lock that was always escaping from her kerchief, and how when I was little, when I was still at her breast, I would paw at it or play with her jingling bracelets and tangle myself in her skirts.
I remember a father, who would usually come home late and frowning but would smile anyway and toss me up in the air.
Sometimes he would come home and empty his pouch full of shiny things on the table and we would all gather around and play with the watches and jewelry and funny coins.
Mother would shoo us away, saying No that's not for you, and send us into the back room.
Mother would say You can't show the children that they're too young, and Father would say They need to learn someday.
And then Mother would say that I at least was too young and Father would grunt and nod and we would all be watching through the tiny crack in the wall in the back room.
And then they took Mother and Father away and taught us to speak a different language and said there were too many of us, nobody wanted all six, and they split us up into equal portions and us two youngest went to live with a woman that smelled of disinfectant and starch and worked at a hospital and a man with a mustache covering his lip who smelled like leather. And I missed Mother who smelled like mint and cooking, and Father who smelled like the forest and when I cried at night my sister held my head and sang to me in our language that for some reason nobody else knew.
And now I am seven and I can't really remember mother and father but am supposed to miss them.
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