You blabbered my secret, Mama says to me this swirly, twirly morning. My mama’s a tornado that can start up at the slightest squeeze.
Me, I gotta stand there and hope she doesn’t splinter me up with her windpunch.
I tell her everybody knows about her and Grocer Smith. Even his wife could see the way he was always giving Mama the sweetest peaches.
But Mama blames me anyway. Just like she’s always done. Even before I was a holdable thing.
All those gummy pregnant nights stuck up one on top of another and her eating nothing but peaches. And Daddy getting sick of all her peachy nagging, finally borrowing the neighbor’s truck and driving away into his own tornado.
I look at Mama, who is still just a tremble. I will make her toast and weakened tea. I will wait for the chill to leak out of the morning. And as soon as she turns up to a whisper, I will start looking for something to clutch onto.
Francine Witte is the author of four poetry chapbooks and two flash fiction chapbooks. Her full-length poetry collection, Café Crazy, has recently been published by Kelsay Books. She is reviewer, blogger, and photographer. She is a former English teacher. She lives in NYC.
–Art by Jaime Ryan