Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Revisiting Grandma’s House

by Ella Barstowe

Here, I grew up
With mothy dresses
And amber patchwork meadows,
With rusty fences, musty barns,
And twelve mothers’ attempts at unconditional love
For thirty three of the world’s most pointy-chinned children.

Here, I learned
That “lame” does not just mean a horse with a bad leg,
That if you are rude enough to ask Grandma
To give you her old toys, she will,
And that if you are polite,
You get nothing,

That all five of my mother’s sisters
Are clinically depressed,
And that I am likely to develop hip problems
In my early thirties.

Here, I discovered
The meaning of republican
And alcoholic
And out-of-wedlock
And bail bonds
And terminally ill
And refinance
And Luke 21:19

Here, I was told
That the life-size doll in the attic
Is actually Aunt Patty, who died young,
Preserved in a morbid display of taxidermy,
(Which proved to be untrue)

And that if I go to college,
My eggs will shrivel up
Like tadpoles abandoned in an evaporating pond
And I will miss my short window
Of child-bearing opportunity.

Here, I learned
That ain’t ain’t a word
Because my mama said it ain’t
And that I ain’t never going to feel
Like a part of this family,
Despite my undeniable McCullough chin.

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