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Ann Howells
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Eight Months

 

Ann Howells

 

 

 

I contemplate my belly button

now an outie, for I am 36 weeks.

Hands, legs and feet swell—

balloons on a helium tank.

Skin flushes pink, belly distends

and distorts. Sometimes I say,

Sugarbear is dancing, sometimes

just look stunned, hands clasped

on belly, holding tight.

 

A barbecued chicken, three

jelly donuts and jar of Kosher dills,

is lunch. Moods swing

on a very stunted pendulum,

walk has a pronounced waddle.

Today I do not see myself

as giver-of-life, participant

in a miracle. Today I see myself

awkward, uncomfortable,

and fat, fat, fat!

 

 

 

 

Junior High School Summer

 

Ann Howells

 

 

Most days we played Monopoly on Sandy’s front porch. A late arrival always waited to take over when Mother called.

 

At teen club Joe tried to teach us the dirty boogie. None of the girls would dance with him.

 

In September, military transport service was transferred from our local base. Freddy, Sandy, Karl, Lyle, and Pinky moved away.

 

One day we rode our bikes all the way to Morningside for French fries and vanilla Cokes. We were grounded for a week.

 

Paulie combed his hair in a DA, wore a leather motorcycle jacket. Grandma said he was a hoodlum. All the girls wanted to date him.

 

Pinky’s dad didn’t like her nickname, It’s longer than her name. We asked for Judy, or he didn’t call her to the phone.

 

Freddy wanted the lucky Indian head penny I carried in my bra. When he kissed me, his hand slid under my blouse. I didn’t mind losing the penny.

 

We promised always to keep in touch, wrote several letters.

 

Sometimes, after dark, we played records and danced; sometimes we played swinging statues on the lawn.

 

 

 

Genetics—the hard way

 

Ann Howells

 

 

 

You’re a child’s picture book,

the one with split pages:

pirate’s fearful countenance

atop the dancer’s pointed toes.

Dancer’s graceful torso above

the cowboy’s exaggerated bow.

Take stock in the mirror—Dad’s curls.

Aunt Clara’s square jaw. Ralph’s

slew-foot stance. Mom’s flat ass.

The chromosomal map’s in pieces!

That DNA cannot be trusted;

a blind juggler rattles the dice.

 

Your heart, its valve perpetually

pointing to midnight, its syncopated

beat, all programmed as you

twinkled in Daddy’s eye. Each cell

a crystal ball in which your future

is contained—shake it again,

snow always settles

on the gingerbread house.

 

At Monte Carlo I lost my money

at blackjack, roulette. You fed dimes

into a ten-cent slot until you won

enough to buy our breakfast.

I’m afraid I’m not a gambler,

you blushed.

 

 

 

Ann is a long-time member of Dallas Poets Community (a 501-(c)-3 non-profit). She serves on its board and edits its semi-annual journal, Illya's Honey. Her work appears in various small journals, most recently Avocet, Barbaric Yawp, Third Wednesday and Main Channel Voices. She has work upcoming in an anthology from Zocalo Press in the UK.

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