on the drive to champaign station

little black girls in little black dresses,
suited up for sunday morning
pouring kool-aid in the sidewalk grasses
to see if they grow violet instead.

my right-wing grandfather lounges in the front seat
futzing with the sun visor above his head,
pushing me to take another yard sale bargain,
calling out ‘street’s clear’ even though it’s not.

my mother is an aging belle
who never found herself,
despite the hours alone and searching
all those years ago.

if you try and listen closely,
past the ripple where the road bends,
you can hear her heart’s sorrow
crying through her voice’s laughter.
sitting in the back seat, pen in my hand,
i try to watch and understand:
chip back the layers, scoop them up…
my efforts will never be enough.

1 October 2006

© Charlie Pevensie


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