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Aug 2016
It was the time of my Auntie Bee summers
   I was small then
   She had a parakeet that landed on my head
   and a bathtub too
   with water so deep!
   and legs and claws!
   **** thing nearly chased me down the stairs!

She lived in slumbery Windsor Locks
   where bugs hung-out in the haze
   of teenage August
   I played in the tall weeds
   with a shoeless Italian boy
   who ate tomatoes like apples
   and cucumbers right off the vine!
   He was ***** free and foreign!
   We played— reckless, abandoned
   behind the gas pump, under the tractor, in the barn   
   and through the endless fields
   I didn’t know....
   His name was Tony
   I ate pizza with him—the first time

At Auntie Bee’s I had to go to bed at eight
   but I could watch night flowers
   bloom on wallpaper
   She came in to say good night
   slippered, shadowy, night dress slightly open
   and I peeped her *******!
   like Tony’s cucumbers!
   I had never seen my mother’s wonders....

Night spread its wings from the old fan—
   a bird of tireless exhaustion
   whipped, whipped, whipped to death in its cage
   tireless exhaustion
   tic-tocking in time to a wind-up clock
   stretched out on the whine
   of the overland trucks
   Route Five through the night of an open window

In the grape arbor below—
tremulous incessant
   crickets    crickets    crickets
tremulous incessant—insides of a child
   a summer child
   not yet ready for the fall of answers

Auntie Bee had a daughter—Maureen
   I followed her everywhere I could
   I was small then--    
   do anything for a stick of Juicy Fruit
I followed Maureen through my dreams
   of being sixteen
   and woke to Peggy’s “Fever”
   while she tied her sneakers
   against the mattress by my head

I followed Maureen (in my mind)
   tanned and bandanned
   to work in the fields of shade tobacco
   with all those Puerto Rican boys!
   She knew where she was going!

I was small then
...do anything for a stick of  gum

“Mauney! Mauney! Mauney!”
   ...through the goldenrod of roadside
   through the smell of oil that damped the dust    
I followed Maureen’s white shorts
   and chestnut hair...to the corner store
I followed the way the boys smiled
   the way the screen door slammed
   on her bright behind
   the way her lips taunted and took
   the coke-bottle’s green
I followed Maureen

I swear, I tried for hours to get that right!

Must have been Peggy Lee’s “Fever”

Maureen ties her sneakers in my face
Flaunts her years above my head
She has that look—
“We kids don’t know nothin”
(Little turds” that we be)

…followin’ Maureen
through the goldenrod of roadside
tic-tockin’, beboppin’

“Fever— in the morning
Fever all through the night….”
Peggy Lee's Fever:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4hXyALR9vI
I was seven years old and did I ever get this!
Peggy Lee's stripped down performance is the epitome of ***.

Windsor Locks is in Connecticut.
Written by
L B
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