Wednesday, July 3, 2024

July 4, 1989


What I remember

about the Fourth of July, 1989.


The jar of cocktail sauce

bouncing out onto the floor

when I opened the refrigerator door.


It landed near my feet,

glass shattering,

a small slice appearing

atop my left foot.


It bled little,

but left a scar.


Our neighborhood was raucous.

My mom’s friend from work

came to stay with us

with her two-year-old girl,

a beautiful duo of color

with wide, bright smiles.


While walking the block of partiers,

some teens yelled racial epithets

and later egged our house.

Those kids are probably

doing time now somewhere

for the long haul.


Walking back across the parking lot

from the store, just the two of us

in our cute pink and green shorts,

some men leered, catcalling us

as we neared the car.


I didn’t notice them,

I was a teen

in a daydream,

but mama of color

whisked me back

with a flash.


I’m often still in daydreams,

ask anyone I know,

but what I remember

about the Fourth of July, 1989,


bled little

but left a scar.



© 2024 Jennifer Wagner

1 comment:

  1. My goodness, Jen, what a rotten memory to have to carry around and recall when the 4th rolls around. It's my least favorite holiday by far, a crowded, noisy, exercise in the worst of extroversion. Or so I see it. Someone said that all the evil in the world stems from one group thinking another group is less than human. That's illustrated here in the casually cruel, needlessly hurtful scenes described. Even when we are young and wrapped up in our own worlds, this stuff still gets through and sticks. I often wonder why, if they can't be kind, why people can't at least not go out of their way to hurt others. Meanwhile, I'll be glad when the annual bombardment is over.


Thank you for your thoughts!